The Vancouver Canadians opened up their six-game series in Spokane with an 8-6 win over the Indians at Avista Stadium Tuesday night.
Vancouver got to Helcris Olivarez early as Tanner Kirwer led off the game with a single to left that deflected off shortstop Jack Blomgren. An Olivarez throwing error on a pick-off attempt moved Kirwer around the bases before a Philip Clarke grounder to short scored Kirwer with the game’s first run. Cameron Eden reached on an infield single to short and Spencer Horwitz was hit by a pitch (the first of way too many) before Luis De Los Santos deposited the ball over the right field wall for a three-run home run to give Vancouver a four-spot.
Sean Wymer retired the side in order in the first inning and navigated his way around a two-out throwing error at third by Ronny Brito in the second. Wymer could not pick up Brito again when he made a second throwing error that allowed Blomgren to get to second base. Aaron Schunk would drive in Blomgren with a base hit to left to get Spokane on the board.
Spokane cut the Vancouver lead in half in the fourth when Wille MacIver doubled and was singled over to third by Michael Toglia before coming home on a Kyle Datres sacrifice fly.
The C’s got rolling again in the fifth inning and Kirwer ignited the rally with a leadoff walk. Clarke was hit by a pitch (that’s two!) from Olivarez before Eden walked to load the bases. Moises Ceja took over for Olivarez and gave up a Horwitz base hit to right to score Kirwer. Tanner Morris hit into a 3-6-1 double play but Clarke was able to score to make it a 6-2 Vancouver lead. Ceja uncorked a wild pitch and that allowed Eden to score from third to up the C’s advantage to five.
Spokane roared back with three runs of their own in the sixth inning as a Toglia home run scored a Brenton Doyle single and a MacIver walk to cut Vancouver’s lead to 7-5 and chase Wymer from the game.
The C’s would respond with a run in the eighth. Spokane reliever Jared Biddy plunked Eden (three!) and also nailed Morris (four!) after Horwitz forced out Eden on a 3-6 fielder’s choice. De Los Santos would single up the gut to score Horwitz.
Spokane would score in the eighth with a two-out rally when Datres drew off a walk against Sam Ryan. Datres would steal second and score on a Hunter Stovall single.
Will McAffer—back from Team Canada at the Olympic qualifier in Florida—struck out the final two batters in a perfect ninth to pick up save number three.
Wymer got his first win of the season by lasting five-plus innings. The Toglia homer made his final pitching line worse as he was charged with five runs (four earned) on six hits and a walk. Wymer whiffed four batters and split his 10 outs in play evenly on the ground and in the air.
Marcus Reyes pitched two shutout innings of relief of Wymer. The lefty sat down the first five batters he faced before he went to plunk Schunk with two outs in the seventh. This was after Biddy drilled Eden and Morris in the previous half-inning. That should earn Reyes even more respect within the confines of the C’s clubhouse. Unfortunately, that was not the end of it as Kirwer had to wear one from Derrik Watson to begin the eighth inning. For those of you keeping score, that’s five HBPs from Spokane to Vancouver’s one. If this keeps up, there could be a brawl as this series has five more games to go. After all, it was 10 years ago these teams went at it at Avista Stadium.
Ryan struck out one in his one inning of work to give the C’s pitching staff a 7-2 K/BB total on the night.
Kirwer is now the stolen base leader in the High-A West league as he pilfered his 19th bag to move one ahead of Eden. He was on base four times with two hits, a walk and a hit by pitch. Eden also turned in a 2-for-4 night with a walk and a plunk. De Los Santos was 3-for-5 with a three-run homer, a run-scoring single and a double. Horwitz was aboard three times with a hit, a walk and an HBP.
Ryan Gold walked twice as he given an intentional pass, moving him into a four-way tie for the league lead. Gold was waved over to first by Watson as he entered the game with the bases loaded in the eighth and the moved paid off as he struck out Brito and got D.J. Neal to hit into a 6-4 fielder’s choice. Neal did get aboard once with a walk which is much better than taking one for the team and getting a bruise for it.
The Canadians have a new pitcher on the roster. Right-hander Adrian Hernandez was promoted from Dunedin after putting up some eye-popping numbers good and bad. The good is 37 strikeouts over 18 innings and a .194 batting average against but the bad is 15 walks and a 1.56 WHIP. The 21 year-old from Escuinapa de Hidalgo, Sinaloa, Mexico signed with the Blue Jays as a free agent on November 23, 2017. He will wear #25 for the Canadians.
Vancouver will send C.J. Van Eyk to the bump for the second game of their six-game set against Spokane. First pitch is at 6:30 p.m. on CanadiansBaseball.com. Luis Quinones will get the start Thursday and Adam Kloffenstein and Paxton Schultz will get the ball Saturday and Sunday but Friday’s starter is listed as TBA.
The Canadians are 18-13 on the season to leave them one game back of first place Eugene and a half-game back of Everett. The Emeralds lost to the AquaSox in Everett Tuesday.
Congratulations to former C’s play-by-play Rob Fai. He will be doing play-by-play again but this time it will be the hardwood as he will call the acton for the Fraser Valley Bandits of the Canadian Elite Basketball League. Also congratulations to Shantelle Chand—the Canadians sideline reporter for Shaw TV broadcasts in 2017—who will be courtside during the broadcasts which will be streamed live on CBC. The season begins June 26 against the Saskatchewan Rattlers at the Abbotsford Centre.
C’s Alumni Report
Riley Adams (2017) got a double in his first major league game, Jonathan Davis (2014) had a sacrifice fly and Rowdy Tellez (2014) had a pinch-hit single but Toronto lost to the Chicago White Sox 6-1. The Adams family were in attendance for the game with father Matt wearing a red Canadians jersey.
Richard Ureña (2014) was 1-for-3 and laid down a sacrifice bunt and Logan Warmoth (2017) earned an assist in right field and drew a walk but Buffalo snatched defeat from the jaws of victory with a 7-5 loss to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Otto Lopez (2018) drove in three runs with a sacrifice fly and a two-run single, L.J. Talley (2021) was 2-for-5 with two RBI, Kevin Vicuña (2017) had two base hits, Nick Podkul (2018) had a single and Brock Lundquist (2017) drew a walk but New Hampshire suffered a come-from-ahead 9-8 loss in Portland. Brody Rodning (2017) allowed one hit and struck out in two-thirds of a scoreless inning.
Ryan Sloniger (2019) walked and scored a run but Dunedin lost to Lakeland 7-4.
Kevin Pillar (2011) drew a walk but the New York Mets were beaten by Baltimore 10-3.