The Vancouver Canadians came back from a four-run deficit to win their 2022 Season Opener in Spokane 8-6 in 10 innings at Avista Stadium Friday.
Spokane opened the scoring in the second inning with a three-spot against Canadians starter Adam Kloffenstein. An infield RBI single by Bladimir Restituyo that Leo Jiménez could not handle deep in the hole produced the first run and Daniel Montano doubled to right to score the other two runs.
Grant Lavigne took Kloffenstein deep to right to up the Spokane lead to four in the third inning.
The Canadians offence finally broke through for its first run of the season in the sixth. Jiménez doubled off Spokane starter Will Etheridge, went to third on a Zach Britton groundout to first and tagged up to score on a P.K. Morris sacrifice fly to center field.
Vancouver’s bats then erupted in the seventh inning off Spokane reliever Boby Johnson. A leadoff walk by Miguel Hiraldo came around to score when Addison Barger bashed a two-run home to right. Davis Schneider got aboard with a walk, a pop-up single to short by Trevor Schwecke and a base hit to left by Garrett Spain loaded the bases. Jiménez heard ball four to tie the game at 4-4. Luke Taggert took over on the mound for the home side but he could not find the strike zone as he walked Zach Britton to give the C’s the lead. Another Morris sacrifice fly to left gave Vancouver a two-run cushion.
Jimmy Burnette tried to close the door in the ninth but he began the frame by hitting Julio Carreras with a pitch and allowing a single to Benjamin Sems . Burnette got the next two batters by getting Restituyo on a bunt pop-up to the mound and striking out Eddy Diaz. Montano worked a four-pitch walk to load the bases before a passed ball by Britton scored Carreras. Drew Romo singled to left to score Sems but Schneider threw out Montano at the plate to send the game into extra innings.
With Morris starting the top of the 10th at second, Tirotta lined an opposite field double off Shelby Lackey to right to cash in Morris with the go-ahead run. Pinch-runner Hugo Cardona moved up 90 feet on a Miguel Hiraldo grounder to third and would score the insurance run on a wild pitch.
Burnette would retire the side in order, striking out Zac Veen and Lavigne before retiring Robby Martin Jr. on a liner to left to pick up the win.
The C’s picked up Kloffenstein who gave up four runs on eight hits over four innings. On the positive side, he struck out six and sat down the last five batters he faced. He had escaped a bases-loaded, nobody out situation in the first. He struck out Veen before getting Lavigne to hit into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Lefty Sean Mellen kept the Spokane offence in check with 2-2/3 innings of shutout ball, walking only one and striking out four. He set down the first eight hitters he faced before Thomas Ruwe stranded that walk for him. Ruwe retired the first two men he faced but issued a walk. Burnette struck out Robby Martin Jr. to strand that runner. Burnett whiffed four over 2-1/3 innings, giving up one earned run out of two on two hits and a walk.
Jiménez, Tirotta and Spain all had two hits apiece with Jiménez also working a walk. Schneider drew three walks and produced that base running kill from left to extend the game into a 10th inning. Morris had a double and two sac flies. Every Vancouver batter got on base once with a hit or a walk.
The C’s came up 0-for-2 in the stolen base department with Romo throwing out Tirotta and Schneider to end the third and 10th innings. Spain was doubled off of first to end the fourth when he took off on a hit and run but Britton lined into a 4-3 double play after a leaping catch by Diaz.
The Canadians send Trent Palmer to the mound in a 5:09 start at Avista Stadium Saturday. Joe Rock goes for Spokane. The game can be heard on CanadiansBaseball.com.