The Vancouver Canadians won their second in a row with a 3-2 victory over the Tri-City Dust Devils at Nat Bailey Stadium Saturday.
Tri-City got to C’s lefty Naswell Paulino for the game’s first run in the first inning. Leadoff hitter Jordyn Adams picked up a seeing-eye single to left that eluded a diving Trevor Schwecke at third and Leo Jiménez at short. Adams stole second and got to third by tagging up on a one-out fly ball to center by Osmy Gregorio. Schwecke thought Adams left the second base bag early and appealed the play with a throw to second but the umpires ruled Adams left on time. A double by Gabe Matthews over the head of Riley Tirotta in right field drove in Adams to make it 1-0 Dust Devils.
Vancouver would square things up in the second against Tri-City starter Dylan King in the second inning. Zach Britton pulled a double to right to lead things off. One out later, Miguel Hiraldo would single over the head of a leaping Gregorio at short into left field and C’s manager Brent Lavallee made an aggressive send to wave Britton around third. Britton would slide feet first into home plate to beat the throw from Francisco Del Valle to square things up at 1-1. Displaying good sportsmanship, Britton bumped into catcher Kyle Lovelace on the play but gave him a couple of friendly taps to make sure his catching counterpart was okay.
Britton would touch home plate again in the fourth with his second home run in as many days. He lifted a ball over the outfield fence and under the video board in left-center field with one out to put Vancouver ahead 2-1.
The Dust Devils would tie it in the top of the ninth when Gabe Matthews greeted Will McAffer with a single to right with one away. Pinch-runner Christian Sepulveda would come all the way around to score the go-ahead run when Kenyon Yovan tripled past a diving Riley Tirotta in right. Sepulveda beat the relay throw home with a headfirst slide at home.
The C’s would walk it off in the bottom of the ninth when Britton homered to dead center field to clear the 30-foot wall on the second pitch from Emilker Guzman, sending the crowd of 5,995 home happy.
Cameron Eden had the first Canadians hit of the day when he beat out an infield bouncer to third with one out in the first inning. Jiménez followed with a single to left but P.K. Morris struck out and Schwecke popped out to short.
Hiraldo went to second base on the throw after his one-out RBI single knotted the game up at 1-1 in the second but he was stranded when Mack Mueller and Steward Berroa struck out.
Berroa grinded out an 11-pitch at-bat and thought he had a walk by throwing the bat away but he was rung up by home plate umpire Zdenek Zidek. Eden had an opposite-field single to right but Jiménez grounded out into an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play.
Morris walked to lead off the sixth against Dust Devils reliever Glenn Albanese Jr. One out later, Albanese plunked Britton—his college teammate from Louisville—on the back foot. Britton was forced out on a Tirotta 5-4 fielder’s choice. Tirotta would steal second to join Morris in scoring position but Hiraldo struck out to end the inning.
Kyle Molnar retired the C’s in order in both the seventh and eighth innings before Britton’s walk-off homer. Britton was a perfect 3-for-3 at the dish, finishing a triple shy of the cycle only because he was hit by a pitch. He could do no wrong as he upped his home run total with his third and fourth of the year.
Eden had two hits and Hiraldo was on base twice with an RBI single and a walk. Jiménez had the other Vancouver hit and Morris had the other walk. Tirotta stole his seventh base of the year and had an assist from right field as Vancouver turned in its best game with the leather this season. The C’s won this one despite going 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and leaving six runners on base.
Paulino gave up a double off the top of the right field wall to Yovan to start the second inning but seven pitches later, Paulino retired the next three hitters in a row to strand Del Valle.
After a three-up, three-down inning in the third, Paulino gave up a one-out double by Yovan in the fourth but he would leave the runner at second. Del Valle popped out to Schwecke in foul territory for the second out and Schwecke would rob José Guzman when he slid into foul territory to snare a sharp grounder at third and unleashed a throw that Morris had to stretch for to get the third out.
Paulino faced the minimum in the fiftth when Adams grounded into a 4-3 double play to erase a one-out Lovelace walk. Hiraldo’s throw just beat Adams by a half-step. The pitch before, Adams fouled a ball off his left foot and perhaps that bruise may have been the difference between an infield single and an out.
The Canadians defence continued to stay on point for Thomas Ruwe in the sixth. Ruwe walked Mike Peabody and Gregorio to begin the frame but struck out Matthews swinging. The inning would end when Ruwe got Yovan to line out to Tirotta in right and Tirotta unleashed a bullet to cut down Peabody at third.
Ruwe rung up Del Valle and Guzman to start the seventh and a diving stop by Hiraldo at second a stretch by Morris at first on a grounder by Reyes helped Ruwe retire the side.
McAffer struck out Lovelace swinging and Adams looking to begin the eighth. He was able to strand a walk to Peabody by getting Gregorio to hit into a fielder’s choice at second as Hiraldo won a foot race to the bag to get Peabody.
Even though McAffer allowed the tying run to score in the ninth, the North Vancouver native stranded Yovan’s triple at third by retiring Del Valle on a shallow fly ball to left before getting Guzman to pop out to second and Reyes to ground out to second.
Paulino allowed a baserunner an inning over five frames of one-run ball on four hits and a walk. He struck out two and produced five outs on the ground in his 61-pitch outing.
Ruwe struck out three to offset two walks over two shutout innings. McAffer had the blown save after allowing the tying run but got the win, pitching two innings in which he yielded two hits and a walk while whiffing two.
The Canadians are back at the .500 mark at 17-17 and have a chance to win the six-game series against Tri-City Sunday afternoon. Alejandro Melean will make the start for Monty’s Mounties against Ryan Costeiu. First pitch is at 1:05 p.m. on CanadiansBaseball.com and MiLB.TV.
The Toronto Blue Jays have made it official by promoting righthander Trent Palmer along with Adam Kloffenstein to Double-A New Hampshire. Palmer completes his tenure with Vancouver by going 1-2 with a 4.18 earned run average, striking out 36 batters and walking eight over 23-2/3 innings. He won the Northwest League Pitcher of the Week award after pitching six perfect innings in Hillsboro May 1.
As for Kloffenstein, he made his first professional appearance out of the bullpen in his Fisher Cats debut. He struck out the side in the fifth inning and retired the first nine men he faced before boing charged with four runs over 3-1/3 innings.in New Hampshire’s 8-5 loss in Erie.
Kloffenstein’s number 34 will now be worn by somebody else for the first time since 2018. Righthander Conor Larkin has been promoted from Dunedin. Toronto’s ninth-round pick from the 2021 draft began his pro career with the D-Jays this season, posting a 1.46 earned run average with a 19-6 K/BB total and a 1.05 WHIP in 12-1/3 innings. The 23 year-old 6-foot-2, 215-pound hurler was a college teammate of 2019 C’s catcher Ryan Sloniger.
FYI, the players to wear number 34 in 2018 were pitcher Dalton Rodriguez and catcher/infielder Yorman Rodriguez.
Radar Gun Rundown
Paulino had strikeouts at 81 and 82 miles per hour and was around 79-92.
Ruwe registered strikeouts at 94, 80 and 93 and ranged from 79 to 94. McAffer had punchouts at 92 and 85 and was also at 82.