The Vancouver Canadians are now in fourth place in the High-A West standings as the Spokane Indians rallied for an 8-6 win at Avista Stadium Tuesday.
The Canadians raced out to an early lead in the first against Spokane hurler Mitchell Kilkenny. Luis De Los Santos got things started with a leadoff single to third base and Sebastian Espino worked the count full before drawing a one-out walk. Spencer Horwitz followed with an RBI single to right to score De Los Santos with the game’s first run. Ryan Gold lined one up the middle to score Espino, Will Roberston singled to right to plate Horwitz and Ronny Brito ended Kilkenny’s night with a base hit to center to score Gold. Moises Ceja walked Eric Rivera but got De Los Santos to fly out to keep the score at 4-0 Canadians.
Spokane got on the board in the third inning against Nick Fraze courtesy of a two-out solo home run to left-center by Cade Harris.
Vancouver matched that homer with one of their own as Philip Clarke went deep on the first pitch from Jake Sommers with two outs in the fifth.
Spokane got on the comeback trail against Brandon Eisert in the sixth. Daniel Montano started the inning with a double and Niko Decolati battled Eisert to a 10-pitch at-bat before drawing a walk. Eisert may have been too worn down at that point as Michael Toglia took him deep for a three-run home run to make it a one-run game. Eisert did get Aaron Schunk to fly out before making way for Will McAffer. He walked Hunter Stovall and Kyle Datres with one out and issued a two-out free pass to Cade Harris but McAffer got out of it when Jack Blomgren lined out to left as Espino made a leaping catch against the wall.
McAffer’s control problems continued in the eighth when he walked Montano and Decolati to start the inning, throwing just one strike in nine pitches. Parker Caracci got a pair of fly ball outs but Schunk’s was a sacrifice fly to score Montano with the tying run. Decolati stole second base and moved to third on a wild pitch. Stovall then walked and swiped second base and that set the stage for Datres’ two-run single to give Spokane the lead. Another wild pitch by Caracci and a throwing error by Clarke behind the plate allowed Datres to score Spokane’s eighth run.
The final run of the game came in the top of the ninth. Gold singled to right with one out off Spokane reliever Dugan Darnell and he came around to score on a two-out Clarke triple. That brought the tying run to the plate but Brito was caught looking at strike three to end the game.
The Canadians had multiple chances to score in this one.
2nd inning – Espino and Horwitz both line singles to right with one out but Gold and Robertson both struck out swinging.
3rd inning – Rivera reached on an error by Blomgren at short with two away in the third but was stranded.
4th inning – Tanner Morris‘ leadoff single to center was wiped out on a ground ball double play by Espino.
6th inning – Morris’ base hit to left and an Espino walk with two outs went to waste.
7th inning – A Gold hit by pitch from Boby Johnson and a Robertson single to right were followed by a Clarke strikeout and a Brito double play.
8th inning – A Morris two-out walk from Stephen Jones was left 180 feet away.
Morris, Horwitz, Gold, Robertson and Clarke all had two hits apiece with Gold reaching base three times on a hit by pitch. Morris and Espino were on board three times with Morris drawing a walk and Espino hearing ball four twice to go with his base hit. The first eight Canadians in the batting order had at least one base hit with Rivera getting on with a walk in the number nine hole. Vancouver were 4-for-12 with runners 180 feet away or less but stranded 11.
Fraze faced just one batter over the minimum in the first two innings, getting Montano to ground out into a double play to erase a Blomgren leadoff single that came on the first pitch. After Harris’ home run, Fraze walked Blomgren and gave up a single to Montano but he limited the damage to just one run by striking out Decolati. That was one of four strikeouts for Fraze over three innings of three-hit ball with one walk. He threw just 49 pitches, 33 for strikes, and got three groundball outs.
McAffer was sent back to Vancouver from Double-A New Hampshire in time for the series opener in Spokane Tuesday. Fellow reliever Connor Law will take his place with the Fisher Cats after being promoted from the C’s.
Eisert was blitzed for three runs on four hits and a walk and did not strike out anybody over 2-1/3 innings. McAffer’s return to the C’s was one he would like to forget as he issued five walks and was charged with two runs over two-thirds of an inning. Caracci saw both of McAffer’s runs score on his watch and gave up two more (one earned) in his one inning of work in which he allowed a hit and a walk while striking out one. Hagen Danner had the best pitching line of the night for Vancouver as he negated a walk by punching out the side in the eighth but he needed 27 pitches to do it.
Vancouver is now one game behind Spokane for third place in the High-A West standings at 33-40 and are nine games back to second-place Eugene in the loss column.
The Canadians go with C.J. Van Eyk in the second game of this six-game set at Avista Stadium. Spokane will counter with Will Etheridge in a 6:30 pm start on CanadiansBaseball.com.