The Vancouver Canadians won their eighth in a row as they thumped the Hillsboro Hops 8-2 at Nat Bailey Stadium Sunday.
The Canadians broke through against Scott Randall in the second inning. Tyler Keenan lifted a high fly ball near the left field line but Neyfy Castillo overran it and that allowed Keenan to pull in to second base. Miguel Hiraldo blooped a single to left to get Keenan over to third. A sacrifice fly to right by Riley Tirotta brought Keenan home with the game’s first run. Garrett Spain walked but he was forced out on a 4-6 fielder’s choice by Hugo Cardona that pushed Hiraldo to third. A double by Steward Berroa to right field where Danny Oriente did not urgently chase down the ball scored Hiraldo and Cardona to make it 3-0 Vancouver.
Hillsboro got its first hit of the game when Cam Coursey hit a double to the left field fence to begin the fifth against Abdiel Mendoza. A ground ball to short very close to the second base bag by Jarrod Watkins allowed Coursey to get over to third before Oriente’s 3-1 grounder brought Coursey home.
The C’s would get back to work with the bats in the fifth. Berroa tripled to the right-center field gap against Randall. Leo Jiménez was hit by a pitch (quelle surprise!) for the fourth time in the series as he was grazed on the left elbow. Britton walked to load the bases and Damiano Palmegiani unloaded them by lining one over the left field fence into the C’s bullpen for a grand slam. Keenan then lined one to the right field wall for a stand-up double. A one-out walk to Tirotta saw José Alcantara take over for Randall and the Hops reliever would hit Spain in the left knee (colour me shocked!) to load the bases. Cardona then produced a sac fly to right to score Keenan to cap off a five-run inning.
Hillsboro got the final run of the game as Ramses Malave turned around a Juan Nuñez fastball over the left field fence to start the eighth.
Cardona made a nice barehanded play charging in from short to retire A.J. Vukovich to end a 1-2-3 inning for Melean.
The second inning saw Melean strike out the side and strand a Coursey walk and stolen base as he sat down Castillo, Watkins and Oriente.
Mendoza knocked down a comebacker from Malave and recovered to throw out the Hops catcher in time for the second out on the way to a perfect third inning. The fourth inning was another three-up, three down frame for Mendoza who struck out Roberts and Vukovich before covering the bag on a 3-1 putout to take care of Castillo for the third out.
Mendoza walked Lin with two outs in the fifth to bring Malave as the tying run to the plate but Spain ran down a foul ball right against the short wall in right field territory for a huge third out.
Garrett Farmer‘s outing started with a Ryan Bliss roller up the third base line that Britton pounced on but Bliss would beat it out for an infield single. Farmer walked Castillo with two outs but stranded both runners by getting Coursey to fly out to left. The seventh inning saw Farmer finish up with a perfect seventh, getting Oriente looking at strike three for out number two.
Will McAffer had a perfect inning that featured a called strikeout of Oriente in the seventh.
Nuñez walked Bliss after Malave’s homer but finished up strong by striking out the side with Roberts, Vukovich and Castillo doing U-turns at the dish after coming up empty.
Ryan Boyer began the ninth with a strikeout of Coursey as he retired all three batters he faced to end the game.
Melean walked just one batter over two shutout frames and struck out three in his first action on the mound since June 19. Mendoza ran his record to 5-0 with three innings of one-run ball on one hit and one walk with two strikeouts. Six Vancouver hurlers limited the Hops to three hits and racked up 10 strikeouts against four walks.
Britton had the first hit of the day for Vancouver with a two-out double that stayed fair over the first base bag and down the right field line. The C’s catcher also reached base in the third inning on a Watkins error when the Hops second baseman had the ball glance off his glove on a bouncer.
Cardona had a two-out base hit to center in the fourth inning but he was picked off at first by Randall.
You totally won’t believe this but Jiménez was hit by a pitch again in the left arm by Alcantara to begin the sixth. He would steal second but he would get no further. Jiménez was plunked five times in the series against the Hops and the C’s were drilled 12 times overall.
Christian Montes De Oca plunked three less batters for Hillsboro Sunday than he did in his last outing. His only blemish was a Hiraldo strikeout that reached first base on a wild pitch to start the seventh.
Berroa singled to right off Kyle Backhus to begin the eighth and pinch-hitter Andrés Sosa worked a one-out walk but they would be left on base. Sosa remained in the game to replace Britton behind the plate for the ninth. Earlier, Harry Ray replaced Keenan at third base to begin the eighth inning.
Berroa finished a home run shy of the cycle, collecting his sixth triple of the year and his 11th double. Keenan had two doubles to give him 11 on the season. Britton picked up his 15th double and also drew a walk. Spain was on base twice with a walk and a hit by pitch. Jiménez took one for the team twice and stole his sixth base. Palmegiani belted his fourth homer since joining the C’s to go along with 14 runs batted in. Hiraldo and Cardona had the other base knocks. Vancouver was 3-for-11 with runners in scoring position and nine men were left.
The C’s are off until Friday when they visit the Spokane Indians. Tyler Zickel will have the play-by-play on CanadiansBaseball.com for a 7:05 p.m. first pitch.
Ricky Tiedemann will not start that series opener as he is on his way to Double-A New Hampshire according to TSN’s Scott Mitchell.
Radar Gun Rundown
Melean recorded strikeouts of 80 and 94 miles per hour and was up to 95. Mendoza had strikeouts of 85 and 79 and touched 92. Farmer checked in at 72 and 93. McAffer was at 86 and recorded a punchout at 95. Nuñez had strikeouts of 81 and 82 and was around 95-98. Boyer had a strikeout at 94 and was also at 79 and 80.