The Vancouver Canadians continue to have their way against the Spokane Indians after a 4-2 victory at Ron Tonkin Field Saturday night.
Adam Kloffenstein set the tone on the mound with a seven-pitch first inning, striking out Brenton Doyle on three pitches to put the Canadians on offence. Tanner Morris was the first Vancouver hitter to reach base after being hit by a pitch from Spokane starter Helcris Olivarez. Morris was forced out at second on a Cameron Eden 6-4 fielder’s choice but Eden stole second and scored on a double by Spencer Horwitz to left field to provide Vancouver with an early 1-0 lead. Philip Clarke tried to score Horwitz by making a bid for a single to left field but Spokane shortstop L.J. Hatch kept the ball in the infield with a diving stop to prevent Horwitz from rounding third and scoring. Luis De Los Santos would ground out to third to end the inning.
Kloffenstein retired the side in order again in the second inning and sat down the first eight hitters before Hatch singled with two outs in the third. One pitch later, Kloffenstein was out of the inning by getting Niko Decolati to fly out to right.
Vancouver got the offence rolling again in the bottom of the third when Rafael Lantigua led off with a ground-rule double to center and made it to third base on a Morris base hit to left. However, Morris wound up getting picked off at first by the left-hander Olivarez. Eden replaced Morris at first by drawing a walk and Horwitz followed with an infield single to third to bring home Lantigua with the C’s second run. Eden and Horwitz pulled off a double steal and they would score on a base hit up the middle by Clarke to expand the Vancouver lead to four.
Spokane scored their first run in the top of the fourth when Doyle tripled to center with one away and came home on a Michael Toglia groundout to second. That ended a 10-inning scoreless string by Kloffenstein to start the season. He sat down the next seven in a row before walking Hunter Stovall and Doyle with two away in the sixth but King Kloff retired Toglia on a flyout to center to end his outing.
The visitors narrow their deficit to two runs when Willie MacIver hit the first pitch from Brayden Bouchey over the fence in left center field. Two pitches later, Bouchey plunked Kyle Datres and wild pitched him over to second. Though he struck out Caden Harris for the first out, Bouchey’s night came to an end when he walked A.J. Lewis. Lefty Marcus Reyes picked up Bouchey by striking out Hatch and getting Decolati to ground out to leave two men on. Reyes retired five of the six men he faced with a Toglia single his only blemish over 1-2/3 scoreless innings.
Will McAffer took over the mound for Monty’s Mounties in the ninth inning. He struck out Datres but a pair of one-out walks put the tying runs on base. McAffer righted the ship by getting pinch-hitter John Cresto and Decolati to fly out to earn his second save of the year.
Morris has picked up some new bruises in the last couple of nights. He was hit by a pitch Friday before getting plunked twice more on Saturday to go along with a base hit. The former Viriginia Cavalier is hitting just .233 but he is getting on base at a .415 clip.
Eden walked twice and stole two bases to run his season total to eight to lead the High-A West league. He went for the hat trick but he was thrown out at second base by MacIver to end the seventh inning. Eden’s teammate Tanner Kirwer and Spokane’s Eddy Diaz are tied for second in the league with seven steals apiece but both players were off Saturday. Diaz was injured on a hit by pitch during Friday’s game.
The top five hitters in Vancouver’s lineup all got on base at least once but the bottom four were held down, including 7-8-9 hitters Ronny Brito, Andres Guerra and newcomer Eric Rivera who went a combined 0-for-9. Rivera was called up from Low-A Dunedin and played right field in his C’s debut.
Kloffenstein threw 79 pitches, 50 for strikes over his six innings. He surrendered just two hits and two walks with four strikeouts and 10 groundball outs to get his first win of the year. Reyes threw plenty of strikes as 17 of his 25 offerings were in the strike zone for his first hold. Both Bouchey and McAffer had trouble finding the strike zone as Bouchey threw six of his 11 pitches for balls while McAffer was off the mark with 11 of his 18 pitches.
The game finished up in two hours and 27 minutes, the shortest game of the season so far.
The series finale goes Sunday at 1:05 pm. Paxton Schultz is listed as the probable starter for Vancouver. The game can be heard on CanadiansBaseball.com.
Right-hander Sam Ryan has been promoted from Vancouver to Double-A New Hampshire. He pitched five total innings over three appearances for the Canadians, giving up three unearned runs. Ryan made his New Hampshire debut Saturday and pitched a shutout inning in the ninth.
Joining Ryan on the Vancouver-New Hampshire shuffle is infielder L.J. Talley. He batted .304 and drove in three runs in seven games with the Canadians.
Heading to Vancouver is right-hander Lazardo Estrada from Low-A Dunedin. The 22 year-old Cuban has made two appearances with the D-Jays, allowing three runs in five innings with a strikeout-walk total of 7-6. Estrada began his pro career in 2018 with the Dominican Summer League Blue Jays where he was 3-3 with a 2.06 earned run average. The 5-foot-10, 180-pound hurler was in Bluefield two years ago where he was 2-3 with a 5.85 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 47-2/3 innings.
Infielder Sebastian Espino is also on his way from Dunedin to Vancouver. The 20 year-old Dominican played was in the New York Mets system since 2017 before being claimed on waivers by Toronto last December. A career .260 hitter in his four minor league seasons, the 6-foot-2, 176-pound Espino was 4-for-14 with Dunedin and drove in a run.
Congratulations to 2018 C’s southpaw Nick Allgeyer on his call-up to Toronto. The former Iowa Hawkeye began his pro career in Vancouver where he posted a 2.73 earned run average, whiffing 31 batters in 26-1/3 innings. After a 10-win season with Dunedin in 2019, Allgeyer posted a 1.50 ERA in his first two starts with Triple-A Buffalo where he struck out 10 batters in 12 innings. He will wear #51 with the Blue Jays.
C’s Alumni Report
2017 C’s infielder Cullen Large scored Nash Knight (2016) with Buffalo’s first run as the Bisons bumped off Rochester 7-3. Richard Ureña (2014) had a hit, a walk, a run scored and a run batted in.
New Hampshire blew a 3-0 lead and lost to Somerset 5-3. Zach Logue (2017) pitched shutout ball for the first five innings before running out of gas in the sixth when he was tagged for two runs. The lefty struck out eight batters with zero walks allowed just four hits over 5-2/3 innings. Andrew McInvale (2021) offset two walks with two whiffs over 1-2/3 shutout innings. Otto Lopez (2017) had two more hits and Samad Taylor (2017) took one for the team to bring in a run as part of a 1-for-3 night that included his fourth stolen base of the year. Reggie Pruitt (2017) was called in to pinch-hit for Blue Jays 2020 first round pick Austin Martin in the sixth but went 0-for-2. Martin was 2-for-3 with an RBI and a stolen base.
Dunedin was no-hit by Bradenton in a 2-0 loss. 2019 C’s catcher Ryan Sloniger did draw a walk.
Travis Bergen (2015-2017) earned the win in relief as Toronto triumphed over Philadelphia 4-0. The lefty pitched a shutout inning in the fifth by allowing just one hit and striking out one to improve to 2-0 on the season. Cavan Biggio (2016) had two singles in four at-bats and stole a base and Rowdy Tellez (2014) added a base hit.