A full nine-inning game in Hillsboro ended well for the Vancouver Canadians for a change as they rallied for a 4-2 victory over the Hops at Ron Tonkin Field Friday.
It was in the bottom of the sixth when the game’s first run was scored. Ryan Bliss worked a one-out walk against C’s reliever Abdiel Mendoza. Catcher Andrés Sosa blocked a pitch in the dirt and made a strong throw to second but Bliss managed to beat the tag. Tim Tawa then hit a deep fly ball that Davis Schneider made a diving attempt for in foul territory down the right field but he could not come up with it. Tawa would draw a walk and Bliss appeared to have stolen third base but home plate umpire Matt Blackborow called Tawa for a questionable batter’s interference. Tristin English then hit a sharp grounder to the mound that Mendoza knocked down but he lobbed a high throw out of the reach of P.K. Morris at first. English was credited with an infield single and Mendoza was charged with an error that allowed Bliss to score and put two runners in scoring position.
The Hops scored again in the seventh against Jol Concepcion. The trouble started with a leadoff walk to Danny Oriente and he moved to second on a Concepcion balk. Elian Miranda got Oriente over to third on a fly ball to right. Adrian Del Castillo was nearly retired on a foul fly ball that Riley Tirotta could not quite reach for into the camera bay next to the Canadians third base dugout. The next pitch was put into play to short with the infield drawn in. Addison Barger threw the ball home but Oriente slid home safely on a bang-bang play. Oriente appeared to say something to Sosa and that enraged the C’s catcher as he tried to get around home plate umpire Matthew Blackborow to get to Oriente. Both dugouts emptied but nothing else developed from the near-brouhaha. What was worse was the replay on MiLB.TV showed that Oriente may not actually have touched home plate after sliding feet first wide of the bag.
Vancouver was shutdown for the first eight innings with starter Kenny Hernandez tossing seven of them. Fellow lefty Andrew Saalfrank put up another zero in the eighth but gave up a base hit up the middle to Barger to start the ninth. A chopper to third by Tirotta got Barger over to second before Morris put runners on the corners with a single to left. With Steward Berroa pinch-running for Morris at first, Trevor Schwecke was hit on the left elbow on a 0-2 pitch to load the bases. The third lefty of the night Liu Fuenmayor took over for Saalfrank. Fuenmayor got ahead of Miguel Hiraldo at 1-2 before Hiraldo went to the opposite field down the right field line for a three-run double to put the Canadians ahead. Hiraldo stole third and he tagged up and went home on a Harry Ray sacrifice fly to center for the C’s fourth run.
Eden started the game for Vancouver with a base hit to left but he was picked off by Hernandez. Barger blooped a double that landed fair just down the right field line with two out but Tirotta flied out for out number three.
Tirotta would get the next Canadians base hit with a two-out single to right after it went off the glove of a sliding Tawa at second. Tirotta was forced out on a Morris chopper to short unassisted.
Hernandez got to a ball-three count for the first time in the fifth inning when he fell behind Hiraldo 3-1 but he got Hiraldo to tap out to the mound on the way to another perfect frame.
Sosa lined out to third to start the sixth but Eden drew a walk. Schneider hit one on the screws to third but Vukovich made a leaping catch for the second out. Barger chopped one to first to strand Eden.
Tirotta led off the seventh with a walk but he was forced out on a 5-4 play off the bat of Schwecke. Hernandez bracketed that with strikeouts of Morris and Hiraldo to punctuate his seven shutout innings.
Sosa walked with one out in the eighth but was erased on a 5-4 force play off the bat of Eden before Saalfrank struck out Schneider looking on a 3-2 pitch.
Barger had two of the six Vancouver hits that included his ninth double of the year while Eden and Tirotta had a single and a walk apiece. Eden was caught stealing for the second time in six attempts. He was only caught stealing twice last season when he pilfered 30 bags. Hiraldo swiped his 11th bag of the year to go along with his three-run double, his sixth two-base hit of 2022. Morris had the other base knock. Vancouver was 2-for-3 with runners in scoring position, leaving five men on.
C’s starter Ricky Tiedemann had a 1-2-3 first with a punchout of Bliss to begin the frame and caught English looking at strikeout three to retire the side in order in the second.
Sosa helped Tiedemann get the second out of the third inning when he tracked down a slow roller from Miranda down the first base line and was able to lob a throw over to first in time. The Hops got their first hit off Tiedemann when José Curpa singled to right but he pulled up limping just short of the first base bag. Del Castillo pinch-ran for Curpa and was stranded when Bliss grounded out to second on a 3-0 pitch.
Tiedemann ended a clean fourth with a punchout of English and added another strikeout in the fifth by getting Lyle Lin with one out. He hit Oriente above the left knee with a 0-2 pitch with two outs before putting up another zero on the linescore.
Tiedemann tossed five shutout innings of one-hit, one hit-by-pitch ball and struck out four. Eight of his 10 outs in play were on the ground and he struck out four. Of his 56 pitches, 41 were strikes.
Mendoza gave up a two-out walk to Roberts after allowing a run but got Lin to hit a broken-bat grounder to short to limit the sixth inning damage to one run. Mendoza gave up a run on a hit and three walks.
Concepcion committed another balk to move Del Castillo into scoring position but managed to strike out Bliss beforehand and A.J. Vukovich afterwards to get out of the seventh. Concepcion pumped his first after punching out Vukovich after the two got into a shoving match during the near-donnybrook.
A four-pitch walk to Tawa by Concepcion began the eighth inning but he got English to rap into a 5-4-3 double play on a 3-2 pitch. Concepcion drilled Roberts in the back and walked Lin on a 3-2 pitch. Roberts stole third but Oriente’s broken-bat grounder to first ended the rally for the home side. Concepcion tossed two innings and walked three but struck out two and did not allow a hit to get the victory.
Jimmy Burnette worked an uneventful 1-2-3 ninth with a flyout, groundout and foul pop up to first to collect his second save.
The C’s made some defensive changes in the ninth to preserve the lead with Berroa remaining in the game in right field, Schneider moving to left from right, Ray taking over at third from left and Tirotta moving from third to first to replace Morris.
The C’s have been without shortstop Leo Jiménez since Saturday. It was mentioned on the MiLB.TV broadcast that Jiménez only played in three of the first six games in Hillsboro in late April due to a back injury and that may be the reason why he is out again. The 21 year-old from Panama has not been placed on the injured list as of yet.
Catcher/outfielder Zach Britton may also be on the shelf due to an injury as he has not played since Tuesday’s series opener.
At 19-20 for the year, Vancouver tries to keep their hopes of a series split alive with Naswell Paulino (according to the CanadiansBaseball.com home page) or Hunter Gregory (according to the C’s game story and press notes) going on the bump. Chances are good we will see them both on the hill as some point. John Carver is scheduled to throw the first pitch for Hillsboro at 6:35 p.m. on CanadiansBaseball.com and MiLB.TV.
Congratulations to 2018 C’s pitcher Josh Winckowski for his call-up to the bigs with the Boston Red Sox. The 15th round pick of the Toronto Blue Jays in 2016 from Estero High School in Florida is slated to get the start at Fenway Park in the second game of a doubleheader against the Baltimore Orioles. The 23 year-old Toledo, Ohio hurler put up a 3.13 earned run average in seven starts at Triple-A Worcester, striking out 34 batters and walking only six in 31-2/3 innings. The Jays traded Winckowski to the New York Mets early in 2021 as part of the Steven Matz deal that also involved 2014 C’s pitcher Sean Reid-Foley going to Queens. About two weeks later, Winckowski was traded to Boston in a three-way swap that involved the Mets and the Kansas City Royals. Over his six years in the minors, Winckowski has a record of 28-22 with a 3.50 ERA.
Winckowski won two Northwest League Pitcher of the Week awards in August of 2018 and won the NWL Pitcher of the Year Award with a 2.78 ERA and a 71-15 K/BB total in 68 innings. C’s Plus Baseball was fortunate to have a chat with Winckowski during his stay in YVR. Though I despite the Red Sox with every fibre of my being, I do wish Winckowski all the best. I was hoping his MLB debut would have been with the Blue Jays or at least anyone else save the Yankees or the Red Sox.