The Vancouver Canadians needed nine full innings to pull out a 7-6 victory over the Hillsboro Hops at Nat Bailey Stadium Thursday.
The Hops jumped ahead in the third inning when Ryan Bliss homered to left-center field off Chad Dallas for a one-out solo shot. Mack Mueller nearly made a leaping catch but was shaken up when he collided with the padding on the short chain link fence. The Abilene, Texas native did remain in the game.
The Canadians answered back a half-inning later against Marcos Tineo. A one-out single to center by Harry Ray and a one-out walk by Steward Berroa set up a Zach Britton base hit to center to score Ray. Berroa and Britton executed a double steal and they would score on a Leo Jiménez single on a 3-2 pitch to center. Britton slid wide of the plate but managed to touch the pentagon with his left hand and avoid the tag of catcher Lyle Lin to make it 3-1 Vancouver.
Miguel Hiraldo also touched green with a hit to the middle outfield to get Jiménez over to third. Tineo tried to pick off Hiraldo at first but a throwing error by the Hops hurler allowed Jiménez to score Vancouver’s fourth run.
Jiménez was hit by a Tineo pitch to begin a two-out rally in the fifth. That was followed by a base hit to center by Hiraldo and a walk by Riley Tirotta to load the bases. Zach Barnes took over for Tineo and walked Garrett Spain to bring home Jiménez to make it 5-1 C’s.
The C’s added another run in the sixth as Hugo Cardona got on base with a leadoff walk. He stole second and went to third on a Barnes wild pitch with one out. A two-out triple by Britton that was a rainmaker to right field as it hung up in the air for quite a while before coming down brought in Cardona to up the C’s lead to five.
Hillsboro would rally for five runs in the top of the ninth to tie the game. Walks by Jarrod Watkins and Lin sandwiched a Danny Oriente base hit to left off Will McAffer with one out. Cam Coursey was able to land a ball in center field in front of Spain but Spain threw out Lin at second for an 8-6 fielder’s choice. Watkins did score on the play to make it a 6-2 game. Channy Ortiz then doubled to center to drive in Oriente and Coursey. McAffer got Fox Semones to hit a grounder to short but Cardona made a throwing error that was wide of first base. That allowed Ortiz to score the tying run. Juan Nuñez relieved McAffer but he gave up a game-tying double to left by Bliss before getting Roberts to fly out to center for that elusive third out.
Vancouver would snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in the bottom of the ninth against Christian Montes De Oca. He hit not one, not two but three batters to load the bases with nobody out as he drilled Berroa, Britton and Jiménez. Berroa was shaken up after he was hit in the left arm but he remained in the game and stole second base before Britton’s and Jiménez’s plunking. Britton was hit in the right leg and Jimenez was drilled in the left elbow on an 0-2 pitch, whipping the crowd into a frenzy. Hiraldo fell behind 0-2 in the count but worked the count even, fouling off a 95-mile per hour fastball. He then managed to put a ball into play with a slow bouncer to third base and A.J. Vukovich‘s throw to the plate was late as Berroa slid home safely to score the winning run.
Dallas should have been out of the first inning with a inning-ending double play when Hiraldo booted a roller near the second base bag but he got out of it when Watkins popped out to short and Oriente grounded out to third.
Jiménez was the first Vancouver batter to reach base with a first inning walk with two outs but made it no further. Bliss helped the Hops keep the C’s to just that walk as he retired Britton by ranging into the outfield grass at short and getting Britton by a half-step at first.
Jiménez was plunked in the back by a 74 mile per hour breaking ball by Tineo with two outs in the fifth so he was HBP’ed twice.
Spain had a two-out walk in the seventh against lefty Hugh Fisher but he was thrown out trying to steal second.
Hillsboro catcher Ramses Malave had to leave the game due to what may have been an arm injury with one out in the second inning after a swing and a miss. Lin took over behind the dish after starting the game at first base, Watkins moved from second to first base and Coursey remained in the game at second.
Spain made a beautiful diving catch on a sinking liner by Vukovich to end the third inning.
The second, fourth and fifth innings saw Dallas retire the sider in order. He hit Roberts with a pitch that went off the right elbow guard with one out in the sixth and Watkins singled up the middle with two outs but Dallas finished the frame by getting Oriente to ground out to short.
Hiraldo had three hits and Britton was on base three times with a triple, single and a hit by pitch. Jiménez was on base four times with a single, a walk and two HBP’s. Spain walked twice and Berroa got on base a couple of times with a walk and a plunk. Ray had the other base hit. Tirotta and Cardona drew walks.
Dallas put together six outstanding innings by allowing.a solo home run among three hits and a hit by pitch. He struck out eight, walked nobody and got seven of his nine outs in play on the ground.
Garrett Farmer and Ryan Boyer struck out two batters apiece in their perfect innings of work. McAffer allowed five runs (thee earned) on two hits and two walks in two-third of an inning. Nuñez allowed a McAffer run to score on the Bliss double but got Caleb Roberts to fly out to send the game to the bottom of the ninth. Nuñez got his third win of the year against no losses and wore his third different uniform number. He wore number 34 in the retro jersey because there is no number 36 jersey, which are his regular digits. The righty has also worn number 32 in the Throwback Thursday threads this year.
Vancouver improves to 11-6 in the second half and have a 1-1/2 game lead over Everett for top spot.
The C’s have not named a starter for Friday’s game as Ricky Tiedemann is off to Los Angeles to take part in the MLB Futures Games. Ross Carver will pitch for Hillsboro in a 1:05 p.m. start on CanadiansBaseball.com and MiLB.TV.
Radar Gun Rundown
Dallas put down batters at. 80, 86, 83, 82, 83, 95, 82 and 81 miles per hour and was at 77. Farmer was 73, 78, 80 and 84 and had a K of 92. Boyer had punchouts of 82 and 93 and was up to 95. McAffer was around 83-85 and struck out a batter at 97. Nuñez was at 87.