The Vancouver Canadians won the first “Battle for the Boro” as they jumped all over the Hillsboro Hops 13-4 to open up their six-game series at Ron Tonkin Field. The win extends Vancouver’s winning streak to six.
The C’s—playing the role of visitor for the first time in Hillsboro—took the early lead in the first. Tanner Kirwer singled to left, was bunted over to second by Philip Clarke and scored on a Cameron Eden bloop single to left off Conor Grammes.
Vancouver starter Sean Wymer worked around a Reece Hampton leadoff walk and a Buddy Kennedy base hit in the bottom of the first but the Hops got to him for two runs in the second. Tre Holmes started the inning with a single, went to second on a groundout and scored on an Alex Hernandez base hit to tie the game at 1-1. With two outs, Cam Courcey singled to score Hernandez to give the Hops a 2-1 lead but Clarke would throw out Courcey trying to steal second to end the Hillsboro rally.
Monty’s Mounties would storm back in a big way in the third with a two-out rally. Eden got it started with a base hit up the middle and stole second base. Spencer Horwitz joined Eden on the basepaths with a walk and they executed the double steal. Tanner Morris walked to load the bases and Luis De Los Santos flared a base hit to right off the end of the bat to score Eden and Horwitz to give Vancouver the lead. Horwitz beat the throw to the plate with a nice headfirst slide to avoid the tag of Hillsboro catcher Luvin Valbuena. Hunter Haworth replaced Grammes on the mound but the Canadians kept coming as Ryan Gold‘s ground-rule double to center plated Morris to make it 4-2. Sebastian Espino—called up from Dunedin—made his presence felt with a two-run single to left off the glove of a leaping Ricky Martinez at short to score De Los Santos and Gold. Espino would come in to score on a Rafael Lantigua double to left to cap off the six-run rally.
Hillsboro got a run back in the fifth off Brayden Bouchey when he loaded up the bases by hitting Hampton with a pitch and walking Courcey and Kennedy with the latter’s walk coming before a double steal. Bouchey got Spencer Brickhouse to pop up to short as De Los Santos went a long way into shallow left field to make the catch. However, Bouchey plunked Martinez to allow Hampton to trot home with the third Hillsboro run. Marcus Reyes took over for Bouchey and struck out Holmes and Leodany Perez to leave the bases loaded.
Kai-Wei Lin kept Vancouver off the board in the sixth inning but Joe Jones could not do the same for the Hops in the seventh. Gold’s double to left drove in a Morris single and an Espino sacrifice fly to left brought in a De Los Santos base knock. Kirwer lined a base hit to center to bring in Gold to put Vancouver ahead 10-3.
Vancouver added another run in the eighth when walks by Eden and Horwitz from Yaramil Hiraldo and a Morris free pass from Kyler Stout (great name for a team called the Hops) loaded the bases before Gold’s bloop single to left brought home Eden.
Hillsboro added their final run of the night off Will McAffer when Perez led off the bottom of the eighth with a double and score on a Hernandez base hit.
The C’s piled on with two more runs in the ninth on a one-out rally that saw Clarke and Eden single and Horwitz walk to load the bases. A bloop single to left by Morris followed to score Clarke and Eden with Horwitz thrown out at third.
Every Canadians batter had at least one hit and six had multi-hit efforts. Morris was on base five times with three hits and two walks. Eden had three hits and a walk and added two more stolen bases to give him 11 on the year. Gold also had three hits and knocked home three runs and Espino matched Gold with three runs batted in. Horwitz was on base four times with a hit and three walks and also stole a base. He has a league-leading 16 walks on the season.
Reyes had the best pitching line of the night by throwing 2-2/3 scoreless innings and striking out three, scattering a couple of hits. Wymer allowed five hits and three walks but limited the damage to two runs by striking out four and getting three outs on the ground. McAffer walked three hitters and gave up a run on two hits but did strike out five over the final two frames.
There were a few fine defensive plays of note. Kirwer made a nice diving catch in foul territory in right field off Martinez before Clarke picked off Brickhouse with Gold inadvertently blocking the first base bag to end the third inning.
Lantigua was robbed off an extra-base left on a nice leaping catch by Holmes into the chain link fence to end the fifth.
The High-A West transactions column shows that right-hander Troy Watson has been placed on the 7-day injured list. He spun three shutout innings in his lone appearance of the season back on May 8 in Tri-City.
Troy Miller will get the ball for Vancouver in the second game of this series. You can check out the broadcast on CanadiansBaseball.com and MiLB.TV. First pitch is at 6:35 p.m.
C’s Alumni Report
The Canadians and their parent club Toronto Blue Jays both had 18-hit evenings Tuesday with Toronto shutting out Boston 8-0 in Dunedin. 2016 C’s second baseman Cavan Biggio had a 1-for-5 night and 2015-2017 C’s lefty Travis Bergen pitched two-thirds of a shutout inning.
Richard Ureña (2014) had a hit and a walk and Dany Jiménez (2017) pitched one-third of a scoreless frame in Buffalo’s 9-4 loss to Worcester.
Otto Lopez (2017) had three hits to boost his batting average to .400 and stole a pair of bases in New Hampshire’s 12-6 setback to Portland. Samad Taylor (2017) doubled and walked, Reggie Pruitt (2017) tripled and Nick Podkul (2018) doubled. Vinny Capra (2018) walked twice and Kevin Vicuña walked and drove in a run. L.J. Talley picked up his first Double-A hit. Graham Spraker (2017) made his season debut with two-thirds of a scoreless frame.
Congratulations to 2019 C’s right-hander Willy Gaston as he has been called up to New Hampshire from Low-A Dunedin.
Best wishes to 2011 C’s outfielder Kevin Pillar who was hit by a pitch in the face by Atlanta’s Jacob Webb on Monday. Pillar suffered multiple nasal fractures.
On the topic of 2011 Canadians, New York Mets righty Noah Syndergaard will begin his rehab assignment with Port St. Lucie in the Low-A Southeast League as he tries to bounce back from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow that forced him to miss all of 2020.