The Vancouver Canadians offence and defence let them down in a doubleheader sweep by the Spokane Indians, losing 3-0 and 5-1 at Nat Bailey Stadium Sunday.

After the game was delayed for an hour to make sure the field was playable, Spokane got the only run they would need in the first game when Julio Carreras kept one fair down the left field line for a solo home run with one out in the second inning against Vancouver starter Hunter Gregory.

The other two Spokane runs came with a two-out rally in the fifth against C’s reliever Naswell Paulino. Braiden Ward was hit by a pitch on the left elbow and stole second base. Zac Veen then doubled to left on a ball that just stayed fair down the left field line and went to third when Ray misplayed the bounce off near the corner. Earlier in the Veen at-bat, Ray was running hard from left field but was not quick enough to haul in a catch as the ball landed foul. Instead of a third out, the inning continued as Romo would lift a fly ball to shallow center field. A miscommunication or lack thereof second baseman Miguel Hiraldo, shortstop Addison Barger and and center fielder Steward Berroa resulted in the ball going off the glove of Hiraldo. Romo was given a double on a play that should have made.

The Canadians were shut down by Joe Rock as the lefty went the distance by giving up just one hit and two walks over seven innings.

Game 2 Recap

A leadoff walk in the third to Ben Sems by C’s starter Alejandro Melean started a strange third inning for Spokane. A throwing error by Miguel Hiraldo at third on a ground ball by Nic Kent that was too high for Davis Schneider to handle at second base as the ball went off his glove and that allowed Sems and Kent to gain 180 feet on the base paths. Braiden Ward dropped down a bunt at third in which Hiraldo made another off-target throw that actually hit Spokane bench coach Julio Campos on the foot who was in the first base box. Sems and Kent had to return to third and second and Ward was ruled out instead for runner interference? I could see the play being ruled dead but why the bases were not loaded at minimum for Spokane boggles the mind. It’s not like Campos deliberately interfered with the errant throw. Someone was ejected from the Spokane bench before bench coach Julio Campos got the heave-ho, resulting in him spiking his helmet to the ground in understandable frustration.

With one out, Hiraldo had an adventure on a foul pop fly on the third base side as he fell down but managed to still catch the ball for the second out. The infield fly rule was in effect. Just when it looked like the C’s might get out of the inning unscathed, Drew Romo singled to center in front of a charging Berroa to score Sems and a throwing error by Berroa allowed Kent and Romo to pull into scoring position. Grant Lavigne then doubled off the base of the wall in right field to drive in Kent and Romo to make it 3-0.

Vancouver got its only run of the doubleheader when Addison Barger homered to right field off Spokane starter Andrew Quezada to start the fourth inning.

The visitors would salt the game away in the seventh against Conor Larkin with a two-out rally. Kent was hit by a pitch on the hand and Ward bunted his way aboard up the third base side as he beat Larkin’s throw. Veen walked to load the bases and Romo went up the gut on the next pitch for another base hit to bring home Kent and Ward.


C's Notes

The Canadians appeared to be in business in the first inning of game one when Steward Berroa drew.a leadoff walk and stole second. Barger beat out an infield single to short to get Berroa over to third. The rally fizzled when Trevor Schwecke lined a ball to third and Ben Sems threw out Barger who was picked off at first. That baserunning error proved costly. Zach Britton grounded out to first on the next pitch and that was pretty much it for the Canadians offence.

Berroa got on base again via the base on balls with two outs in the third bur Barger flied out to right on a running catch by Robby Martin to end the frame.

Berroa’s two walks and Barger’s infield single were all the C’s could manage against Rock as he retired the last 13 men he faced to earn the win. He punctuated the complete-game effort by striking out the side in the seventh as he racked up nine K’s.

The 68th overall pick of the 2021 draft has allowed just one unearned run in 13 innings in two starts against the Canadians after handing them their first loss of the season during the opening series in Spokane April 9. Here’s hoping the Colorado Rockies give him a promotion to Double-A by the time Spokane rolls next into town June 28-July 3.

Gregory had a 1-2-3 inning in the first and retired seven of eight to start the game before giving up a single to center by Nic Kent and issuing a walk to Ward with one out. The Old Dominion right got Veen to hit a comebacker to the mound for a 1-6 fielder’s choice before retiring Romo on a fly ball to center to strand the two runners.

Carreras blooped a single to right with one out in the fourth but he was thrown out by C’s catcher Anthony Morales trying to steal second. Martin extended the inning with a two-out walk but Bladimir Restituyo popped up to third for the final out.

Paulino struck out Sems to start the fifth inning and got Kent to fly out to the warning track in left field on a running catch by Ray who had to navigate a puddle and the short chain link outfield fence for the putout.

Ray helped Paulino retire Carreras to start the sixth by making a diving catch on a sinking liner by the Spokane shortstop and that helped Paulino retire the side in order. A broken-bat grounder to third by Restituyo was the third out in that inning.

Vancouver Canadians Hunter Gregory
Hunter Gregory allowed just one run over four innings in Game 1 Sunday.

Gregory scatted three hits and two walks and struck out three over his four innings of work with the solo home run on his pitching line. Paulino gave up two runs on two hits and hit a batter. Both runs were earned thanks in part to the play not made in shallow center field. He struck out two and walked nobody.

Game 2 Notes

Melean stranded a two-out single by Romo by ringing up Veen beforehand and whiffing Lavigne afterwards in the first inning.

Andrés Sosa made a nice backhanded pick of a sharp Colin Simpson grounder at first and made the throw to Melean covering the bag on another close play to start the second inning. Carreras was hit in the hand to give Spokane its first baserunner of the day. He was taken care of on a 6-4-3 double play by Ronaiker Palma.

Hiraldo was originally called out when he fouled a ball off his fingers to start the fifth. The ball rolled in front of the plate and Palma took the ball and applied the tag on Hiraldo who was hunched over in pain. Home plate umpire Sparling called Hiraldo out but base umpire Cuellar ruled it was a foul ball. Hiraldo would ground out to second anyway as Vancouver was retired in order.

The disastrous third inning ended when Melean struck out Simpson to strand Lavigne and Melean faced the minimum in the fourth when Sems was thrown out trying to stretch his one base into two when Hugo Cardona started a 9-6 play. Sems seemed surprised by Cardona’s throw and stumbled across the bag which gave Schwecke the chance to tag him twice before recording the third out.

Melean should have faced the minimum in the third as Schneider booted a roller at second to allow Veen to get on base with two away. Romo flied out to Morris at left as he handed all three outs in play.

Vancouver Canadians Thomas Ruwe
Thomas Ruwe turned in the best pitching line of the day with a perfect inning in Game 2 Sunday.

Thomas Ruwe worked an efficient 1-2-3 sixth inning on just eight pitches that included a strikeout of Simpson on three pitches sandwiched by two flouts to center from Lavigne and Carreras.

Larkin had two strikeouts by whiffing Sems before the two-out rally and Lavigne after Romo’s two-run single, one of two hits and a hit by pitch in the seventh.

Berroa started the bottom of the first by beating out an infield single to third on a very close play at the bag. Spokane manager Scott Little objected to the call by base umpire Hector Cuellar. Berroa would be picked off to ruin that rally.

P.K. Morris snuck one underneath the glove of Lavigne at first for a one-out single to right in the second inning. Hiraldo hit a tapper back to the mound but Quezada threw it out of the reach of Kent at the second base bag and Morris hustled all the way around to third base as the ball went into shallow left field to put runners on the corners. Palma would pick off Hiraldo by catching him flat footed from behind the plate. Schneider then lined one to center on the next pitch to leave the C’s empty-handed.

Barger was the last baserunner for Vancouver when he drew a two-out walk in the sixth against Anderson Pilar. The C’s were set down in order by Luke Taggert in the seventh. Pilar had two strikeouts and Taggert had one.

Vancouver Canadians Addison Barger
Addison Barger approaches C’s manager Brent Lavallee as he completes his ninth round-tripper of the season in Game 2 Sunday.

Barger hit his ninth homer of the season to match his uniform number and drew a walk. Berroa had a single on his 23th birthday and Morris had the other base knock.

Staying with Barger, he has been named the Northwest League Player of the Week for May 30-June 5. Born in Bellevue, Washington, the 22 year-old batted .381 with two doubles, two home runs and six runs batted in.

Back under .500 at 23-24, Vancouver opens up a seven-game series in Tri-City Tuesday night. First pitch is at 6:30 p.m. on Sem Robberse gets the call in the curtain-raiser for the Canadians against Dust Devils lefty Nick Mondak. As pointed out in the C’s press-notes by Tyler Zickel, the C’s have hit just .175 against lefties versus .237 against righties this season.

The probable starters for Vancouver are Chad Dallas and Yosver Zulueta on Wednesday and Thursday. Ricky Tiedemann will start Game 1 of a doubleheader Friday but it is TBA for Game 2. Hunter Gregory is slated to start Saturday. No announcement has been made on who will get the ball Sunday. All games are slated for 6:30 p.m. except for Friday’s doubleheader which begins at 4:00 p.m.

The Canadians have a new addition to the roster. The Toronto Blue Jays picked up infielder Tyler Keenan from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for 2014-2015 C’s lefthander Ryan Borucki.

Keenan is a 23 year-old left-handed hitter from Portsmouth, Virginia and was Seattle’s fourth round pick in the 2020 MLB draft out of Ole Miss. He hit just .196 for the Everett AquaSox last season but was hitting .250 in his return engagement with the Frogs in 2022 to go along with a .349 on-base percentage. He has four doubles, three home runs and 12 runs batted in. The 6-foot-4, 250-pound Keenan has made 42 starts at third base and 24 at first in his two seasons as a pro. He will wear number 35 with the Canadians.

The 28 year-old Borucki had a 9.95 earned run average over 11 outings with the Blue Jays this season. The Highland Park, Illinois did make his Mariners debut Monday and retired Yordan Alvarez on a grounder to second on his second pitch to retire the only batter he faced. Borucki earned the hold as Seattle dumped Houston on the road 7-4.

Borucki was 1-1 with a 1.90 earned run average in 2014 with the C’s and secured a playoff win over Spokane to help the C’s made a bid for a fourth straight Northwest League title. He returned for two abbreviated starts in 2015 and was 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA. Borucki was drafted in the 15th round in 2012 out of Mundelein High School in Illinois. All the best to Ryan with the Mariners.

Outfielder Garrett Spain has been activated off the injured list. He has not played since May 14. Infielder Riley Tirotta has been placed on the injured list. He has not been in action since the first game of the Spokane series May 31.

Radar Gun Rundown

Gregory had one strikeout of 95 miles per hour and was around 84, 86 and 91-95. Paulino had two strikeouts at 82 and checked in at 80, 81, 86, 87 and 91.

Melean had strikeouts of 94 and 87 and was at 78, 82, 84, 89 and 95. Ruwe had a punchout at 98 and was around 95-96. Larkin’s strikeouts clocked in at 80 and 81 and was up to 93 and 94.



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