The Vancouver Canadians dropped their third in a row to the Hillsboro Hops 4-3 at Ron Tonkin Field Thursday.
Both teams had to wait out a 47-minute rain delay two batters into the first before resuming play. Hillsboro got the game’s first run in the second inning against C’s starter Yosver Zulueta. Tristin English beat out a slow grounder to short and stole second. C’s catcher Anthony Morales doubled-clutched before making a good throw down to second but it was too late to get English. A Morales passed ball moved English to third and then Zulueta clipped Spencer Brickhouse on the arm to put runners on the corners. Shane Muntz lifted a sacrifice fly to right that was not all that deep but Steward Berroa‘s throw was well wide of home plate to score English with the game’s first run.
Ryan Bliss fought off a 0-2 pitch from Zulueta to dunk it into left field with a one-out single in the third inning. A walk to Caleb Roberts and a double steal followed. Tim Tawa then worked over Zulueta for an 11-pitch at-bat before chopping a grounder to third to Harry Ray who only had one play to first and his wayward throw was hauled in by Riley Tirotta who got the tag down on Tawa just in time.
Vancouver would break through on the scoreboard when Addison Barger left the park with a solo home run to right off Hillsboro starter Luke Albright with one out in the fourth.
The Hops would score next in the fifth against Conor Larkin. A single to left by Cam Coursey and a Danny Oriente hit-and-run was executed perfectly as his slow roller through the right side of the infield sent Coursey around to third. A one-out single to right by Roberts on another hit-and-run scored Coursey and got Oriente over to third. Roberts was caught stealing second base but that allowed Oriente to scamper home for the fourth Hillsboro run.
Morales’ broken-bat blooper to center opened the sixth against Hops reliever Marcos Tineo and a couple of one-out walks to Berroa and Barger loaded the bases. A two-out opposite field single to right by Tirotta on a 0-2 pitch scored Morales and Barger to make it a one-run game.
Even though there was heavy rain and strong winds, the game started anyway and resulted in two quick outs at the start as Albright got Cameron Eden to fly out to right and Berroa to ground out to third and Berroa appeared to pull up lame. Berroa remained in the game but a great decision by the tall foreheads involved to begin the game anyway.
Barger helped Zulueta complete a 1-2-3 first inning with a sliding stop of a grounder at short to throw out Tawa. Zulueta took the loss as he allowed one earned run out of two on two hits and a walk over 3-2/3 innings, striking out five.
Hiraldo was robbed of a hit to start the third when Bliss ranged well to his left from the shortstop position and threw across his body to retire the Canadians second baseman. Ray followed up with Vancouver’s first hit of the night to center field. A wild pitch got Ray to second base but Morales struck out and Eden grounded out to short.
Larkin bridged the gap to a 1-2-3 fourth for Vancouver in relief of Zulueta when he got Muntz to ground out sharply to Ray who made a nice pick and unleashed a strong throw to first for the 5-3 putout. Larkin allowed two runs over 2-1/3 innings on four hits and struck out two.
Ray also made another backhand grab of a grounder down the third base line to throw out Tawa to end the fifth.
Thomas Ruwe overcame a walk and a Barger error at short to get out of the seventh. He struck out four over his two innings of work.
The Canadians could not get the tying run across the plate when Davis Schneider stranded two runners after Tirotta’s two-run single in the sixth.
Hiraldo led off the seventh with a single to left off José Alcantara. Hiraldo would steal second and get to third on a Ray fly ball to center. Morales grounded out to third with the infield drawn in and Eden struck out to leave Hiraldo at third.
Schneider tripled to the center field fence to begin the ninth against Kyle Backhus and Hiraldo had an infield single on a chopper to third that kept Schneider from scoring. Hiraldo then stole his ninth base of the year but Ray and pinch-hitter Andrés Sosa struck out swinging. An intentional walk was issued to Cameron Eden to load the bases but Berroa struck out swinging to end the game.
Barger was on base three times with a walk and two hits, including his seventh home run of the year. Hiraldo was the other Canadian with two hits and stole two bases to reach 10 on the season. Vancouver was 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position and stranded eight.
The 18-20 C’s play the Hops again Friday at 6:35 p.m. with Ricky Tiedemann on the mound. He’ll face Kenny Hernandez in a battle of lefties on CanadiansBaseball.com and MiLB.TV.