The Vancouver Canadians suffered another disappointing loss as they dropped a 7-6 decision to the Tri-City Dust Devils on Throwback Thursday at Nat Bailey Stadium.
The Double-D’s got the upper hand on Canadians starter Yosver Zulueta in the first inning. Leadoff hitter Osmy Gregorios reached second base on a Trevor Schwecke error when Schwecke failed to come up with the ball on a chopper at first base. Zulueta struck out Mike Peabody swinging but Jordyn Adams blooped a single to center to get Gregorio over to third. Gabe Matthews lined out to center to allow Gregorio to tag up and score the game’s first run.
The C’s got that run back in the bottom of the first when leadoff hitter Steward Berroa hit a laser beam into the left field porch on just the second pitch of the game from Dust Devils starter Nick Mondak.
Tri-City forged ahead again in the third as Gregorio reached base again on another fielding error, this time by Riley Tirotta at third as he could not make the scoop on an in-between hop. The Dust Devils decided to start Gregorio at first and that kept them out of a double play when Peabody grounded out to second. Adams struck again with a seeing-eye single to right that Schneider could not get to at second to score Gregorgio.
Vancouver tied it at 2-2 with another home run, this time by Harry Ray who launched the first pitch he saw from Mondak one that landed on top of the home run porch in left. Ray knew he got a hold of one with an emphatic bat flip.
The C’s grabbed their first lead in the fourth when Addison Barger began the frame with a stand-up double to the wall in right and headed for home when Riley Tirotta ripped a single down the third base line.
The Canadians scored another run in the fifth when Berroa singled with one out on a 0-2 pitch and stole second with two outs before coming in to score on a Trevor Schwecke double to the left field wall to make it 4-2 for the home side.
Tri-City would storm back with their second straight four-run outburst in the sixth against Vancouver reliever Alex Nolan. A one-out solo homer to left by Gabe Matthews got the rally going. A Kenyon Yovan bloop single to center followed and José Reyes reached base when Schwecke was charged with an error as he dropped the ball at first after a grounder to third. Edwin Yon moved the runners up with a base hit to center. Yovan would come home with the tying run on a questionable Nolan balk which baffled the Burlington, Ontario native and led to a discussion between umpires Hector Cuellar and Zdenek Zidek and C’s manager Brent Lavallee and pitching coach Phil Cundari. José Guzman would go on to untie the game with a double to right over a leaping Schwecke to cash in Reyes and Yon.
The C’s fought back in the bottom of the sixth. Tirotta ripped a double to left and saw his helmet fly off on his way to second before advancing to third on a Zach Britton groundout to third. Greg Veliz took over for Mondak and hit Mack Mueller in the leg with a pitch. Davis Schneider would drive in Tirotta with a base hit to left to make it a one-run game. Ray would fill the bags with a bloop base hit to center that fell in front of Adams and behind Guzman at second. Berroa chopped an infield single on a 0-2 pitch down the first base side. Veliz got to the ball but his throw missed the first base bag to bring in Mueller with the tying run. Schneider tried to score on the play but Guzman backed up the play from second and threw Schneider out at home as Christian Molfetta made the tag.
The game would remain tied until the top of the 12th inning. With Peabody as the placed runner, he was pushed around to third on a sacrifice bunt by Jordyn Adams against Mueller who moved in from the right field to take over on the mound in the previous inning. A sacrifice fly to right by Yovan brought Peabody in with the winning run.
Zulueta struck out the first two men he faced in the second inning before issuing a two-out walk to Guzman on a borderline 3-2 pitch. Guzman stole second and third base but Zulueta got Molfetti to ground out to second as Schneider made a nice pick on a short hop before completing the throw to first.
The Cuban hurler had to deal with an infield single by Reyes with one out in the fourth. His own throwing error on a pickoff attempt allowed Reyes to make it the opposite side of the diamond at third. Reyes would remain 90 feet away when Yon grounded out to third and Guzman struck out swinging.
That fourth inning also saw the four-way indicator belonging to the home plate umpire Zidek explode on him after a Zulueta pitch got away from the catcher Britton. It was another example of how explosive Zulueta’s arsenal was as you will see later in the Radar Gun Rundown.
Zulueta recorded his first 1-2-3 inning in the fifth by ringing up Molfetta and Gregorio before inducing a soft tapper back to the mound from Peabody.
Zulueta had two unearned runs on his pitching line but struck out eight and walked only one over five innings.
Nolan’s first pitch resulted in a 1-3 putout after inducing a roller back to the mound from Adams before things took a turn for the worse in the sixth. He was charged with four runs (three earned) on four hits and a hit by pitch in his one inning.
Garrett Farmer held down the fort with two shutout innings. He retired Adams on a grounder to third to begin his outing on a bang-bang play at first to set down the side in order in the seventh.
Schneider helped get Farmer out of the eighth with a couple of big plays with the glove. He surrounded a bouncer at second and made a nice pick to throw out Reyes. After Farmer lost Yon on a borderline 3-2 pitch and threw a wild pitch, Schneider snared a Guzman liner to double off Reyes for an 4-6 inning-ending double play.
Jol Concepcion survived a pair of one-out walks to Gregorio and Peabody in the ninth. He bookended the walks with strikeouts of Molfetta and Adams before getting Matthews to ground out to Jiménez at short who stepped on the second base bag to force out Peabody.
Concepion walked Yon with two outs but bracketed that by striking out Reyes and Guzman to get out of the inning, leaving Matthews as the placed runner at second. Concepcion walked three but struck out four with no hits allowed in his two-inning appearance.
Mueller moved in from right field to take over on the mound in the 11th with Barger playing at third, Tirotta at first and Schwecke in right. The lefthanded Mueller would strike out Molfetta and Gregorio swinging, causing Gregorio to slam his bat into the ground. A 4-3 groundout by Peabody gave Mueller a 1-2-3 frame.
After allowing the game-winning sac fly to Peabody, Mueller knocked down a hard smash off the bat of Reyes and chased down the rolling ball towards the first base line to throw out Reyes. Mueller took the hard-luck loss with an unearned run over two frames, walking one and whiffing two.
Britton had a two-out single in the second but Mondak stranded him as he struck out the side all swinging.
Tirotta got into scoring position after his RBI single in the fourth by stealing his sixth base of the year on a Mueller strikeout but was left on base when Schneider also went down swinging on a 3-2 pitch.
Schwecke’s two-out double in the fifth was left 180 feet away when Barger flied out to left.
The sixth inning saw the C’s strand two runners in scoring position after their two-run tally to tie the game when Jiménez flied out to center.
Schwecke got on base in the seventh against Tri-City reliever Hayden Seig with an infield single to third after Yovan’s throw pulled Matthews off the bag but Schwecke was thrown out trying to steal second. Seig then struck out the next two men he faced.
Britton heard ball four to begin the eighth. Mueller struck out and Schneider lined out to left just in front of the warning track before Britton stole his sixth bear of the year. Ray then got aboard with a base on balls and moved up 90 feet with Britton on a Seig wild pitch. They would be stranded when Berroa flied out to right.
Jimenez was retired on a lineout to center by Dust Devils lefty Houston Harding to begin the ninth before Schwecke hit a hustle double to left. Barger’s grounder to first got Schwecke over to third. Tirotta was intentionally walked to face the left-handed hitting Britton who would then draw a walk to load the bases. Harding was called for a delay of game resulting in an automatic ball. There was some confusion about the play as some though Harding was called for a balk but it was not to be. Mueller then grounded to short that Britton nearly beat out at second but he was called out to send the game into extra innings.
The 10th inning saw Berroa intentionally walked by Harding to join the placed runner Mueller at second. The free pass was handed out after Schneider and Ray struck out. Leo Jiménez would ground out to short to end the frame.
Zac Kristofak climbed the mound for Tri-City in the 11th and committed a balk when he lost his balance trying to throw a pitch. That allowed the placed runner Jiménez to advance to third. Schwecke hit a broken-bat comebacker to the mound for the first out before Barger was given an intentional walk. Tirotta would strike out and Britton grounded out to second to leave Jiménez 90 feet away.
In the bottom of the 12th, Mueller fouled off three two-strike pitches at 1-2 and rolled an infield single up the third base side to get aboard. That also advanced the placed runner Britton at third base. Kristofak would go on to strike out Schneider and Ray and ran the count to 3-0 on Berroa. He thought he had a walk on the 3-1 offering but he went down swinging to end the game.
Berroa and Schwecke had three hits apiece with Berroa drawing a walk and stealing his fourth and fifth bases of the year. Tirotta and Ray turned in two-hit efforts with a free pass. Britton was on base three times with a base hit and two bases on balls. Barger had a knock and a walk.
Eight Canadians had at least one hit with two home runs and four doubles collectively. However, they collectively struck out 15 times against six walks, leaving 16 men on base as they went 6-for-22 with runners in scoring position. The C’s also made four errors on the night.
The C’s will try to even the series as lefthander Ricky Tiedemann makes his Vancouver debut. Robinson Piña goes for Tri-City. First pitch is at 1:05 p.m. Tyler Zickel will call the action on CanadiansBaseball.com and MiLB.TV.
Radar Gun Rundown
Zulueta lit up the gun with a strikeout at 102 miles per hour and also recorded whiffs at 96, 85, 85, 98 and 82. At the other end of the spectrum, he clocked in at to 77 and 79.
Nolan was up to 93 and 95 and checked in at 83. Farmer had a K at 84 and checked in at 72 and 90. Concepcion’s strikeouts were at 94, 95, 85 and 95. He was at 82 as well. Mueller had a strikeout at 85 and was up to 88.