The Vancouver Canadians made it two in a row over the Hillsboro Hops with a 4-2 win at Nat Bailey Stadium Wednesday.
The C’s did their one-stop shopping for offence in the third inning. Francisco Fajardo singled on the first pitch he saw in the Northwest League to right field against Luke Albright. Steward Berroa also went to right for a base hit to put runners on the corners. One out later, Fajardo and Berroa pulled off a double steal with Fajardo crossing the plate for the game’s first run.
With Berroa at third after stealing another bag, Damiano Palmegiani crushed a two-run home run to center field to put Vancouver ahead 3-0.
Riley Tirotta kept the rally going with a walk on a full count and he would score on a Garrett Spain triple which just stayed fair down the first base line.
The Hops replied with a pair of runs in the fourth off Sem Robberse. Ryan Bliss was walked on a 3-2 pitch to start the inning and A.J. Vukovich beat out an infield single to short despite the best efforts of Leo Jiménez who had to range well to his right to get to the ball but made it a close play at first. Robberse struck out Caleb Roberts and made an unassisted putout at first on a Neyfy Castillo comebacker to the mound but Jarrod Watkins snuck a single off the glove of a diving Fajardo at second that allowed Bliss and Vukovich to score.
The game began on an usual note. Cam Coursey lifted a fly ball towards the left field line in the first inning that glanced off the glove of Jiménez at short who gave chase along with Tirotta at third and Glenn Santiago at left. Even though Jiménez was in foul territory, the ball landed fair. Santiago would pick up the ball and throw it to second where Coursey did not apply the brakes in time after rounding second. Coursey kept on going but was caught in a rundown and tagged out by Fajardo for a 7-4-1-4 putout. Bliss singled and stole second after that play but Robberse struck out Vukovich before getting Roberts to ground out to second to end the frame.
Robberse only faced three batters in the third. He drilled Castillo in the back but Andrés Sosa threw out Castillo trying to steal second. Jiménez climbed the ladder to make a leaping catch at short to rob Coursey of a hit to end the frame.
A leadoff walk to Shane Muntz in the fifth happened after Muntz appeared to be hit on the hand or wrist earlier in the at-bat. Muntz and Hops manager Vince Harrison argued the call but the at-bat continued. Robberse would strike out Semones on the way to retiring the next three hitters to wrap up fifth th. A one-out free pass to Roberts and a wild pitch were stranded by Robberse as he completed six innings, giving up two runs on four hits, three walks and a plunk. He struck out six and got six outs on the ground to improve his record to 4-4.
Naswell Paulino pitched a perfect seventh which was punctuated with a strikeout of Fox Semones looking. Mark Simon also worked a 1-2-3 eighth with three straight fly ball outs.
Justin Kelly walked Roberts to begin the ninth which included a pitch-clock violation that evened the count at two balls and two strikes. Castillo sharply grounded to second that knocked Kelly off his feet but Fajardo was positioned perfectly over the second base bag to turn a 4-3 double play.
The game began on a strange note and ended on a strange one. With the count at 2-2, Watkins was not fully inside the left-handed batter’s box when the pitch clock ran down to nine seconds. An automatic strike was called as a result and Kelly was credited with the anti-climatic strikeout to collect his first save of the season.
Berroa had Vancouver’s first hit by beating out an infield single to short. He would steal second and third but he would be stranded as Zach Britton struck out, Jiménez flied out to shallow right and Palmegiani popped out to second.
The C’s had chances to add to their lead in the final two-thirds of the game. Berroa’s two-out single moved to third on two wild pitches and Britton walked but Jiménez popped up to first in foul territory to end the fourth.
A Palmegiani base hit to left and a Tirotta walk started the fifth to force Albright’s exit from the game. José Alcantara got Garrett Spain to line out to second for a 4-6 double play before striking out Sosa.
Santiago reached base on a throwing error by Bliss to start the sixth but he would go no further. Jiménez drew a leadoff walk in the seventh, stole second base when Tirotta struck out swinging and trotted to third on an Alcantara balk but Spain was caught looking at strike three to end the rally.
Hops lefty Kyle Backhus thew a pitch behind Sosa to begin the eighth and stumbled off the mound when trying to deliver a 1-2 pitch to Fajardo as he just lobbed the ball to the plate. Despite all that, Backhus still managed to strike out the side.
Chad Dallas gets the call for Vancouver on the mound in the third game of this series. He’ll pitch against Marcos Tineo in a 7:05 p.m. start at Nat Bailey Stadium. The game is on CanadiansBaseball.com and MiLB.TV.
The C’s are 10-6 in the second half of the year, giving them a 1-1/2 game lead on Everett for first place. Vancouver also improved its overall record to 40-39.
Tonight is Indigenous Peoples Night with a number of activities planned. There will be traditional music and dance outside the ballpark from 5;45 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. With Nat Bailey Stadium on the traditional lands of Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh, all three Nations leaders will be in attendance for a pregame ceremony. The Indian Resential School Survivors Society will be on hand to welcome 20 residential school survivors and their families. Plus, the Baseball Buddies lineup will feature 20 athletes from the Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity & Recreation Council.
Fans will see Canadians Game Day staff wearing HstryMkrs “Every Childs Matters” orange t-shirts, which will be on sale during the game with all proceeds going to residential school survivors. You can also get a shirt by clicking here.
Radar Gun Rundown
Robberse registered strikeouts at 83, 95, 92, 85, 84 and 90 miles per hour. Paulino punched out a batter at 81 and was up to 92. Simon was around 80 and up to 93-95. Kelly was at 88 and up to 98.