The Vancouver Canadians saw their four-game winning streak snapped as they fell 8-3 to the Hillsboro Hops at Ron Tonkin Field Sunday.
The Hops struck quickly against Naswell Paulino in the first as Ryan Bliss doubled to left field on the first pitch of the game. He went to third on an Adrian Del Castillo fly ball to right and scored on a Neyfy Castillo slow tapper back to the mound.
Vancouver did respond in the top of the second against Brent Teller. Damiano Palmegiani drew a walk and Garrett Spain blooped a single to left and they would score on a Miguel Hiraldo triple that landed fair down the right field line.
That lead was gone quickly in the bottom of the second as Cam Coursey led off with a home run to right to tie the game at 2-2.
Hillsboro would pull ahead in the fifth inning when Bliss worked a leadoff walk and went to third Del Castillo lined a double down the right field line. After Paulino struck out Castillo, Tristin English popped one foul behind home plate but C’s catcher Zach Britton could not locate it in time as the ball landed on the turf. English won the nine-pitch at bat by doubling down the left field line to drive home Bliss and Del Castillo.
The Hops would put up even more distance on the C’s in the seventh. Juan Nuñez induced a roller to short off the bat of English but Cardona booted it. Coursey then drew a walk and dropped his shin guard near home plate. That drew the ire of Britton behind the dish as he grabbed Coursey’s bat and slammed the bat handle into the turf twice. The MiLB.TV broadcast called it a “no-no” to handle another player’s bat. At the same time, Coursey could have tossed his shin guard away from the plate but that makes way too much sense. (Britton provided a text book example of this when he drew a one-out walk in the eighth by tossing his bat and shin guard away from the plate. See? Not that hard!) Nuñez got Shane Muntz to fly out to right which moved English to third before Lyle Lin popped up to second. Justin Kelly took over on the mound and gave up a Channy Ortiz single on a 1-2 pitch and a Fox Semones base hit up the middle to score English and Coursey.
Vancouver got its third run in the eighth inning when Steward Berroa blasted a home run over the right field fence against José Alcantara to open the frame.
Hillsboro answered back in the home half of the eighth as Castillo singled off the glove of a diving Cardona to center off Kelly. Castillo barely made it to third on an English base hit to right on a hit-and-run as Berroa’s throw nearly got him. Coursey then singled up the gut to score Castillo.
The C’s could not cash in Hiraldo’s leadoff two-run triple in the second. Harry Ray and Andrés Sosa both flied out to shallow right. Cardona was clipped on the hand by a pitch but Bliss threw out Steward Berroa on a slow roller to short to end the inning.
Cardona had a ground-rule double to left with one out in the fourth and tagged up to go to third on a deep fly ball to right by Berroa but Bliss again prevented a run as he ranged to his right before nipping Jiménez at the first base bag for the third out.
Britton drew a leadoff walk against lefty Dillon Larsen to open the sixth but Palmegiani hit into a 4-6-3 double play that Coursey started with a nice backhand flip to Bliss coming across the bag before making a strong throw to first.
Hiraldo was retired on a check swing tapper back by Alcantara and even though Alcantara mishandled it moving towards first, he was able to easily retire Hiraldo who had a late start getting out of the batter’s box. Ray was then retired after a deep fly ball to left near the warning for the second out. Sosa had a double to left but Cardona was rung up on a strike three call. Cardona felt he had checked his swinging and tossed his bat in frustration.
The C’s had runners on the corners in the eighth inning after Berroa’s homer with Britton’s aforementioned walk and two-out single to center by Spain but Hiraldo struck out.
Spain made a nice running catch to rob Lin of extra bases in the second inning to prevent a run from scoring as Muntz drew a walk after Coursey’s home run.
The Canadians caught a break in the third inning. A Del Castillo one-out single and a two-out English walk were left stranded when English was called out for baserunner interference by umpire Guillermo Rodriguez. English was called out for colliding into Cardona at second after Cardona booted a roller from Coursey close to the bag. Cardona’s momentum took him right into a collision course with English who could not really be faulted for what happened and there was no malicious intent on his part. Hillsboro manager Vince Harrison was rightfully pissed and he was later tossed from the game.
Jol Concepcion took over for Paulino after he walked Coursey with one out in the fifth. A wild pitch moved Coursey and English’s two-run double up 90 feet but Palmegiani made a nice play on a grounder hit near the third base bag. He had to navigate his way around English at third before unleashing a strong throw to first to retire Muntz and help Concepcion get out of the inning.
Concepcion loaded up the bases in the sixth when he walked Ortiz and threw a wild pitch before giving up a Semones single to center and beaning Bliss on the left ear flap of his batting helmet. Bliss was able to remain in the game and take his base. Nuñez relieved Concepcion and stranded the bases loaded by striking out Del Castillo on three pitches and getting ahead of Castillo 0-2 before inducing an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.
Paulino gave up four runs on six hits and four walks and struck out two over 4-1/3 innings. Concepcion got the final two outs of the fifth and survived a hit, a walk and two pitches for two-thirds of a scoreless inning. Nuñez was charged with two unearned runs over 1-2/3 innings after stranding the bases loaded for Concepcion as he walked one and struck out one. Kelly gave up two runs on six hits and struck out two in one inning.
Ray was replaced by Mack Mueller in left field to begin the seventh inning. Mueller was again called upon to climb the mound for the fourth time this season to get the final out of the eighth to replace Kelly. He walked Ortiz to load the bases but got Semones on a lazy fly ball to center.
P.K. Morris took over in left field and took Jimenez’s spot in the batting order as Jiménez was the designated hitter.
Anthony Morales—who replaced Sosa at first base in the eighth inning—had Vancouver’s final hit with a one-out ground-rule double to left against Christian Montes De Oca. Morales made it to third when Cardona tapped out to the mound but Lin made a diving stop at first on a Berroa ground ball and got up to complete the 3-1 putout to end the game.
Spain had the lone two-hit game for Vancouver. Cardona singled and was plunked while Britton walked twice. Berroa hit his third homer of the year while Hiraldo picked up his third triple. Sosa and Morales had the other hits. Vancouver was a woeful 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position with seven men left on the bags.
The C’s did take the series 4-2 and are 2-1 to begin the second half but remain two games below .500 on the season at 32-34.
Monty’s Mounties return home Tuesday to begin a six-game series against the Spokane Indians. Sem Robberse is slated to start the second-half home opener against Mike Ruff at 7:05 p.m. Tyler Zickel will have the play-by-play on CanadiansBaseball.com and MiLB.TV.