The Vancouver Canadians are back over the .500 mark after a 3-2 win over the Hillsboro Hops at Ron Tonkin Field Tuesday.
The Hops were first on the scoreboard against C’s starter Luis Quinones in the bottom of the third inning. Jorge Barrosa got aboard on a leadoff walk and Dominic Canzone singled to put runners at first and third. Tristin English then lifted a shallow fly ball to right that D.J. Neal nearly came up with on a sliding attempt but the ball glanced off his glove and that allowed Barrosa to score.
The Canadians were shutout by Arizona Diamondbacks 2019 first-round pick Blake Walston over the first 4-1/3 innings before Davis Schneider got to to the lefty by launching an 0-1 offering over the Canadians bullpen in left-center field to tie the game. Eric Rivera then drew a walk after he lifted the previous pitch in foul territory on the right field side that was overran by the first baseman Canzone as the ball dropped to the ground. Luis De Los Santos lined a single to right field to advance Rivera to third. Tanner Morris battled Walston to a nine-pitch at-bat before hearing ball four to load the bases. Sebastian Espino fell behind Walston 0-2 and fouled off three straight pitches at 1-2. Espino fouled off a pitch that hit his left shin that he had to walk off. He then hit a bouncer that glanced off the back of Walston, allowing Rivera to run home to give the C’s a 2-1 lead.
Hillsboro would even things up in the sixth. Canadians lefty Brandon Eisert walked a reluctant Eduardo Diaz to begin the inning. Home plate umpire Ray Patchen refused to ring up Diaz on a pair of borderline pitches. Hillsboro Hops announcer Matt RIchert said, “I think (Diaz) took four strikes in the at-bat but he was given credit for four balls”. Diaz just hung around the batter’s box, not realizing he had walked. Diaz then moved up 90 feet on a Cam Coursey base hit. Leodany Perez was jammed by an Eisert pitch but he was able to flare it into right-center to drive in Diaz and even the game at 2-2.
Monty’s Mounties would grab the lead again in the eighth inning. Hops lefty Denson Hull walked Ronny Brito on four pitches with one out and lost D.J. Neal on a 3-2 pitch to put two runners on. Tyler Jones took over for Hull and struck out Schneider looking for out number two but Rivera muscled the next pitch into center field to score a sliding Brito for what turned out to be the winning run.
Justin Maese set down the side in order in the eighth and ninth innings. He needed just seven pitches to get through the eighth and 12 more to finish up in the ninth, striking out Perez with a slider to collect his fourth save of the season.
Luis De Los Santos helped out Maese in the ninth with a nice sliding catch on the second base side of second to take away a hit from Barrosa before making a leaping grab at short off the bat of Courcey to end the game.
The win went to Eisert as he has won five of his six decisions. He needed just eight pitches to get out of the fifth with just one single allowed. The southpaw wiggled his way out of trouble in the sixth with runners at second and third with one out after Hillsboro tied the game. Eisert struck out Barrosa swinging before pitching out to get Coursey trying to steal home as Ryan Gold made the easy tag standing at the plate.
Hops designated hitter Andy Yerzy was hit by a pitch just below his left elbow by Eisert in the seventh but the North York, Ontario native remained in the game. Yerzy did single against Eisert in the fifth when he snuck one by a diving De Los Santos at short.
Luis Quinones had lots of traffic to deal with in his four-inning start. He escaped a bases loaded situation by walking Canzone with one out before giving two-out passes to Yerzy and Blaze Alexander. He retired Diaz to escape the first.
Quinones got out of the second by stranding a two-out double by Perez as Gold picked off Perez to end the inning. The former San Jacinto righty began the inning by striking out Courcey on a splitter and got a generous called strike three from the home plate ump to ring up a none-too-pleased Nick Dalesandro as the pitch missed low.
The third inning saw Quinones give up his only run but he was able to retire three straight hitters to strand Canzone and English at second and third after they tagged up on a Yerzy fly ball. He struck out Alexander on an 89-mile per hour fastball before getting Diaz to hit a tapper in front of the plate that Gold pounced on and he made the 2-3 putout to end the threat.
Quinones found himself in hot water again in the fourth after a Courcey leadoff single, stolen base and Dalesandro walk but Gold pick off Coursey at second on a 2-4-5 putout before Quinones got Perez and Barrosa to go down swinging to end his outing.
The Canadians had runners on in three of the first four innings. Morris was the first Vancouver baserunner with a one-out walk but Espino hit into a 4-6-3 double play to end the first.
A pair of one-out singles by Spencer Horwitz and Brito were stranded as Walston struck out the side.
Horwitz singled with two outs in the fourth and went to second on a wild pitch before being stranded.
After leaving the bases loaded in the fifth when Wesley Rodriguez bailed out Walston, Brito hit a ground-rule double to left-center off Rodriguez to begin the sixth but he made it no further. De Los Santos drew a leadoff walk against Hull in the seventh but he remained 270 feet away from scoring.
The infield shift paid off for Hillsboro when Coursey set up shop in short right field to take away a hit from Morris to end the third. However, Horwitz beat the infield shift twice for singles to right in the second and fourth innings.
Horwitz was credited with a third hit in the ninth when his sharp grounder struck Gold in the foot when Gold tried to advance to second. Gold and Morris were at the corners with one away after they both had singled but the C’s could not add to their lead.
Brito had the other multi-hit effort for Vancouver with a double and a single. Morris was on base three times with a single and two walks and Rivera had a knock and a walk. All nine hitters reached base at least once and eight had at least a hit. The C’s left a dozen men on base after going 3-for-14 with runner in scoring position.
Vancouver is back over .500 at 31 wins and 30 losses and remain 4-1/2 games behind Eugene for second place in the High-A West standings. They did gain a game on first-place Everett and are now nine games back.
Paxton Schultz is next up on the mound for the Canadians. He’ll face Brandon Pfaadt in game two of this six-game set. It’s a 7:05 pm start on CanadiansBaseball.com and MiLB.TV.
In roster news, outfielder Zac Cook has been promoted from Low-A Dunedin to Vancouver. The free-agent signee from Texas-Arlington one year ago hit .237/.388/.820 with four homers, 18 runs batted in and 12 stolen bases with the D-Jays. The 6-foot-1, 195 pound left-handed hitter hails from Flower Mound, Texas, the same place as C’s righty Sean Wymer who remains on the injured list. The 23 year-old Cook will wear #26, the same number Wymer wore before his injury.
The Toronto Blue Jays have released 2015-2016 Canadians hurler Jackson McClelland. The righthander was in the 15th round of the 2015 MLB draft out of Pepperdine by Toronto after being taken by Pittsburgh three years earlier in round 35. The Cherry Valley, California product began his career by making three appearances for the C’s in 2015 and returned to Van City in 2016 where he posted a 3.26 ERA in 24 appearances.
McClelland was named an MiLB.com Organization All-Star in 2017 after posting sub-2.00 ERAs with Lansing and Dunedin. He advanced to Double-A New Hampshire in 2018 and split 2019 with New Hampshire and Triple-A Buffalo before spending this year in Western, New York. His time in the Jays organization ends with a 3.35 ERA over six minor league seasons, striking out 193 batters over 206-2/3 innings. All the best to him in his future endeavours.
I would like to thank my good friend K.P. Wee for inviting me on to his podcast. Be sure to check out that episode as well as the episode featuring Tri-CIty Dust Devils play-by-play man Chris King and former Vancouver Canadians general manager Jason Takefman. You can check out the entire episode list right here.
C’s Alumni Report
Buffalo scored twice in the seventh to slip past Lehigh Valley 2-1 Tuesday.
- Riley Adams (2017) – 0/3, BB, threw out runner trying to steal second
- Cullen Large (2017) – 2/3, R
- Logan Warmoth (2017) – 2/3, 2B, RBI, R
- Nash Knight (2016) – 1/2, BB, 2B, RBI
- Ryan Borucki (2014-2015) – 1.0IP 1H 0R/ER 0BB 1K
- Travis Bergen (2015-2017) – 1.0IP 1H 0R/ER 0BB 1K (W, 1-0)
New Hampshire put an 11-5 hurting on Hartford.
- Chavez Young (2017) – 1/5, BB
- Otto Lopez (2018) – 3/6, 3R
- L.J. Talley (2021) – 2/5, HR, 2B, 3RBI, 2R
- Vinny Capra (2018) – 4/5, 2B, 3B, 5RBI, R
- Kevin Vicuña (2017) – 2/5, 2B, RBI
- Jon Harris (2015) – 1.0IP 0H 0R/ER 1BB 2K (H, 1)
- Graham Spraker (2017) – 1.0IP 0H 0R/ER 2BB 2K
Dunedin downed Clearwater 9-1.
- Gabriel Ponce (2019) – 1.0IP 1H 0R/ER 0BB 1K