The Vancouver Canadians escaped with a series win over the Spokane Indians by winning the rubber match 5-4 at Avista Stadium Sunday.
The C’s were first on the scoreboard in the first inning. Spokane starter Mason Green issued a leadoff walk on four pitches to Steward Berroa and he wound up at second by stealing it. One out later, Leo Jiménez drilled one over the right field fence to give Vancouver a 2-0 advantage.
Vancouver would score again with a two-out rally in the fourth. Riley Tirotta doubled to right field and he would cross home plate on a Miguel Hiraldo base hit up the middle. Jommer Hernandez would drive in Hiraldo with a double to center field to up the Canadians lead to 4-0.
Spokane would begin to claw their way back into the game in the seventh. Mateo Gil hit the first pitch from Mark Simon over the left field fence to begin the frame. Robby Martin would get on base after a fielding error by Hiraldo at second base. Bladimir Restitutyo and Braiden Ward would load the bases with bunt singles to the mound. Simon struck out Zac Veen swinging and retired Julio Carreras on a pop out to second but Warming Bernabel got Spokane’s third infield single on a ground ball that Hiraldo could not do anything with and that cut the C’s lead in half at 4-2.
Spokane would come all the way back against Justin Kelly in the eighth. Colin Simpson lined a single to left on an 0-2 pitch but Gil went deep again to right field with a two-run homer off the fair pole to even things up at 4-4.
Vancouver would score next and last as Hernandez took the first pitch he saw from Tyler Ahearn over the wall in left-center field to begin the ninth.
Abdiel Mendoza put up four shutout innings but they were not the easiest to come by. He handled a Ward bunt to start a 1-3 putout on his first pitch of the game and stranded a Carreras two-out single in the first.
The second inning saw Mendoza face a bases loaded situation with one out after singles by Goodman, Gil and Robby Martin but he got out of it by striking out Restituyo and getting Ward to ground out to second.
After a 1-2-3 third, Mendoza gave up a one-out single to Simpson and walked Martin with two out but got Restituyo to swing and miss for strike three.
Sean Wymer was perfect in his two innings of relief as he whiffed Ward in the fifth and Goodman in the sixth.
Simon prevented the Indians from putting up a bigger number on the scoreboard in the seventh as he left the bases loaded by striking out Goodman after Bernabel’s RBI single.
Kelly had also to go into damage control mode. A one-out walk to Restituyo and a two-out intentational walk to Veen saw both runners steal second to eventually move into scoring position but Kelly got Carreras to ground out to short.
The last runner Kelly allowed to reach base with Goodman who singled to center with one out but Kelly struck out Bernabel and Simpson before and after that hit before preventing Gil for going yard for a third time. Instead, Gil grounded out to third to end the game.
Mendoza scattered five hits and a walk and struck out three over four shutout innings. Wymer had two punchouts over two perfect frames with 12 of his 14 pitches called for strikes. Simon surrendered two runs (one earned) on four hits but struck out two. Kelly coughed up two runs on three hits and two walks but rung up three batters. He was charged with a blown save but picked up the win to improve to 4-1.
Hernandez’s day got a lot better after his first at-bat as a Canadian which resulted in a 6-4-3 double play to erase a Hiraldo single to short in the second inning. After his RBI double in the fourth, Glenn Santiago singled to put runners at the corners but Santiago was thrown out trying to steal second by Goodman.
The Canadians had runners on in the fifth when Berroa walked and Dasan Brown singled to center to make Spokane manager Scott Little take Green out of the game. Boby Johnson would strike out Jiménez before getting Damiano Palmegiani to line out to second.
Riley Tirotta opened the sixth with a double but Johnson would strike out Hiraldo and Santiago to surround a Hernandez foul pop up to first.
Vancouver had another chance to score in the seventh when Hugo Cardona singled to left off Shelby Lackey. A Berroa 4-6 fielder’s choice forced Cardona out. Though Berroa would steal second, Brown would strike out on the play before Jiménez grounded out to short for the third out.
Comox, BC native Adam McKillican set down the C’s in order in the eighth as he bested Surrey, BC native Palmegiani by inducing a groundout to third.
P.K. Morris pinch-hit for Santiago in the ninth but he struck out swinging. Garrett Spain entered the game in left field for Santiago.
Tirotta, Hiraldo and Hernandez all had two hits with Tirotta doubling twice to give him 12 on the year. Hernandez connected for his first home run and first double in his first game with the C’s. Berroa walked twice and stole two bases to boost his total to 38, four back of Veen after he stole his 42nd bag Sunday. Jiménez clubbed his fifth homer of the year. Brown, Santiago and Cardona had the other hits as Vancouver was 3-for-10 with RISP with five men left on base.
Brown was supposed to be wearing number 24 but is now wearing 18 instead. Hernandez has been assigned number 31 while righthander Michael Dominguez has been given number 22.
The Canadians improve to 16-7 to lead the second half Northwest League standings by 2-1/2 games over second place Eugene and 4-1/2 over third place Everett. The AquaSox will be at Nat Bailey Stadium to take on the C’s Tuesday night. Nick Frasso will throw the first pitch at 7:05 for Vancouver on CanadiansBaseball.com and MiLB.TV. Dominguez will get his first High-A start on Wednesday. The rest of the rotation has not been announced.