The Vancouver Canadians won twice against the Tri-City Dust Devils by scores of 4-3 in Game 1 and Game 2 at Nat Bailey Stadium Thursday.
In the resumption of Wednesday’s suspended game, D’Shawn Knowles doubled off the center field wall against C’s pitcher Abdiel Mendoza to begin the fifth inning. Knowles would trot home on a one-out José Reyes two-run home run to put Tri-City up 2-0.
The Canadians got their first runs of the series in the sixth inning. Miguel Hiraldo earned a one-out walk off Hayden Seig and stole second base before Jommer Hernandez heard ball four. Garrett Spain smacked a single to right to score Hiraldo with the C’s first run. Kyle Molnar took over for the Dust Devils on the mound and he gave up a Glenn Santiago double to left to score Hernandez with the tying run.
Tri-City would untie it in the seventh with a two-out rally against Matt Svanson. Christian Sepulveda kept one fair by doubling down the line to the left field corner on a 2-2 pitch and he would score when Leo Jiménez made a throwing error on an off-balance toss from short on a ground ball by Reyes.
Vancouver would even things up in the eighth. Hernandez got to second on a throwing error by Sepulveda that went into the Tri-City dugout to start the frame. A one-out base hit to center by Santiago off Molnar got Hernandez over to third. Ivan Armstrong relieved Molnar and induced a slow tapper to the mound from Dasan Brown who was jammed inside but pinch-runner Hugo Cardona came in to score to tie the game at 3-3.
With Hiraldo at second base as the placed runner in the 10th inning, Andrés Sosa—who replaced Hernandez behind the plate in the ninth inning—doubled to left on the first pitch he saw from Armstrong down the left field line past a diving Sepulveda at third to drive in Hiraldo with the winning run.
Game 2 Recap
The Dust Devils took advantage of a defensive miscue in the top of the fourth to open up the scoring. Straton Podaras popped up to shallow right field but C’s second baseman Miguel Hiraldo and first baseman Damiano Palmegiani could not come up with the catch and Podaras pulled into second with a gift double off Chad Dallas. The ball dropped between Palmegiani at first, Hiraldo at second and Santiago in right. It appeared Palmegiani had a bead on it as he was closest to the ball but there appeared to be miscommunication between Palmegiani and Hiraldo. Instead of a 1-2-3 inning, Christian Sepulveda made the C’s pay with a single to center on the next pitch to plate Podaras with the game’s first run. Mike Wilson then tripled the Tri-City lead to three with a two-run opposite field home run to the left field porch.
Vancouver finally solved Tri-City starter Robinson Piña in the fifth when Riley Tirotta doubled to the left field corner. After Hiraldo popped up to short on a 3-o pitch, TIrotta would scamper home on a one-out Jommer Hernandez base hit to left.
The C’s would get the job done in their final at-bat for the second time. Tirotta singled to left and Hiraldo reached base on a infield single to third that Sepulveda could not get the handle on near the line. Hernandez would then line a three-run home run off Piña over a leaping Wilson into the seating area of the C’s left field bullpen to give Vancouver a second-straight one-run win.
Brown took one for the team on the left shoulder by Jake Smith to begin the day in the bottom of the third inning. The C’s stayed out of a double play when Brown took off for second and beat the throw from third on a Jiménez ground ball who was retired on a 5-4-3 play. Brown stole third when Palmegiani struck out swinging but remained 90 feet away when Tirotta lost the handle on his bat swinging for strike three.
Hernandez had a two-out single to center field with two outs in the fourth but Spain lined out to second for the third out.
Santiago walked to begin the fifth and Brown was denied of an extra-base hit if not a home run when Mike Peabody made a running catch near the short left field fence. Jiménez struck out looking for the second out before Palmegiani was nicked by a Smith pitch on the hand to go down to first. The runners on the corners were stranded when Tirotta was retired on a 3-1 putout.
Morris hit a double into the right field corner but tried his luck by going for third but a perfect 9-4-5 play was executed by the Dust Devils defence cut down Morris for the first out of the sixth. After Santiago’s game-tying double put Spain at third, Brown grounded out to short off Molnar with the infield in so the runners had to hold. Jiménez walked to load the bases but Palmegiani grounded into a fielder’s choice with a ground ball to Sepulveda at third who bobbled the ball but was so close to the bag he was able to make the play for the third out.
The C’s looked to take the lead in the eighth with Santiago at second after Brown’s RBI groundout to the mound but Jiménez struck out swinging to end the inning.
Palmegiani doubled off Armstrong to the left field corner to begin the bottom of the ninth. After Tirotta struck out swinging, Morris was given the intentional walk and the move by Dust Devils manager Jack Howell paid off as Armstrong snared a comebacker from Hiraldo to start a 1-4-3 inning-ending double play.
Mendoza took over for Dominguez in the fourth inning and got Matthews to ground out to short for the first out. That play was salvaged by Morris at first when Jiménez’s throw took Morris off the bag but he still managed to tag out Matthews. A one-out walk by Gregorio followed but Stewart struck out swinging and was called for batter interference against Hernandez who tried to throw out Gregorio for an inning-ending double play.
Morris continued his fine play at first when he was able to keep his foot on the bag on a Hiraldo throw from second to retire Matthews for the second out of the sixth. That helped Mendoza complete a three-up, three-down frame.
Palmegiani made a nice play at third to retire Sepulveda when he charged a ground ball and made an off-balance throw for the first out in the fifth inning. That came just before Reyes’ two-run home run.
In the ninth, Morris stretched at first to handle a Jiménez off-balance throw at short to retire Gregorio on a bang-bang play at the bag. Replays on MiLB.TV showed Gregorio might have been safe but instead it was the first out of a three-up, three-down inning for Svanson. Tri-City got another bad break in the ninth when Knowles looked to be clipped on the left foot by a Svanson. Knowles would go down swinging to send the game to the bottom of the ninth.
The C’s got another friendly bounced in the top of the 10th. With Knowles as the placed runner at second, Sepulveda hit a check-swing bouncer that just rolled foul when Palmegiani got to the ball and it would have been a tough play to make if he had to throw the ball to first. Sepulveda would strike out swinging for the first out. After a Reyes 4-3 groundout moved to Knowles to third, Kyle Loveless grounded out to short to keep Tri-City off the board.
Mendoza gave up two runs on two hits and a walk and struck out two over three innings. Svanson got the win by allowing just an unearned run on one hit and struck out five over four 0innings.
Santiago was on base three times with a double, a single and two walks. Brown singled and was hit by a pitch and stole two bases to give him four on the year. Morris, Hiraldo and Hernandez each had a hit and a base on balls with Morris getting a double and Hiraldo swiping his 25th bag. Palmegiani and Sosa had extra-base hits, Spain had a base knock and Jiménez drew a walk. Vancouver was 4-for-17 with runners in scoring position and left 13 men on.
Game 2 Notes
Dallas gave up a Knowles base hit to left and hit Neto in the back with a pitch to start his outing. After a strikeout of Matthews and a fly out to right by Gregorio that advanced Knowles to third, Dallas walked Stewart on four straight pitches before covering the bag to complete a 3-1 groundout and leave the bases loaded.
A two-out error by Hiraldo at second on a Matthews ground ball that went through Hiraldo’s legs did not prove costly in the third as Dallas retired Gregorio for an inning-ending 5-4 fielder’s choice.
After Wilson’s home run in the fourth, Knowles doubled to left but Dallas prevented further damage by retiring Neto on a grounder to third. The fifth inning was a 1-2-3 effort with Dallas striking out Gregorio for the second out.
The Dust Devils threatened in the sixth against Justin Kelly when Peabody lined a single to right and Podaras was hit in the left hand with a pitch. It appeared the pitch may have hit the knob of the bat but Podaras was awarded first base. The next pitch hit Sepulveda in the hand but the Dust Devils third baseman offered at the pitch and it was ruled a strike by home plate umpire Matt Blackborow. Sepulveda stayed in the game and grounded into a 6-3 double play that moved Peabody to third. Wilson then grounded out to second to keep Tri-City off the board.
Connor Cooke took care of business in the seventh with a 1-2-3 seventh to pick up the save in his Canadians debut. He struck out Knowles looking, got Neto to pop up to first and retired Matthews on a grounder to third.
Dallas gave up three runs on five hits, a walk and a plunk over five innings. He struck out four and recorded seven outs on the dirt. Kelly improved to 6-2 on the year with a one-hit sixth.
Brown blooped a double that landed just fair down the right field line off Piña to begin the bottom of the first inning but Sosa and Palmegiani struck out swinging. Though Brown stole third on the Palmegiani whiff, Tirotta flied out to right for the third out.
Morris worked the count full before earning a two-out walk in the second but Santiago lined out to left to end the frame.
In the third inning, Brown singled to right with one out and stole second base with two outs but Palmegiani grounded to short.
Vancouver left another runner in scoring position in the fourth. After his RBI single, Hernandez got to second on a two-out wild pitch by Piña but Santiago was caught looking at strike three.
Another two-out opportunity went by the wayside in the fifth when Sosa doubled to left but Palmegiani went down swinging on a 3-2 pitch from Piña.
Morris walked right after Hernandez’s homer in the sixth. Spain pinch-ran for Morris and went to second base when Santiago greeted Brandon Dufault with a bunt single to the third base side of the mound that the Dust Devils reliever had to eat. Cardona sharply grounded into a 4-3 double play that Gregorio stayed with by barehanding the ball before making the throw to first. Spain was left at third when Brown grounded out to the five spot for out number three.
Brown, Tirotta and Hernandez all had an extra-base knock among their two hits with Hernandez homering for the second time in his professional career, both of them in a C’s uniform. Brown stole two bases to run his season total up to six. Hiraldo and Santiago had the other safeties. Vancouver was 2-for-11 with RISP and posted a six in the LOB department.
With the two wins, Vancouver improves its second-half record to 20-12 and its overall mark to 50-45. They remain a half-game back of Eugene for first place in the second half but are 1-1/2 games ahead of Spokane for second place overall in the standings.
Righthander Troy Watson—a member of the 2021 Canadians—has been added to the roster from Dunedin. The 25 year-old Gunter, Texas native struck out 17 batters and walked seven batters in 14-1/3 innings combined with the Florida Complex League and Dunedin Blue Jays to go along with a 2.51 earned run average. Watson was placed on the injured list May 18 of last year after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He will be wearing number 14.
The C’s will give Sem Robberse the ball for a 1:05 p.m. first pitch against the Dust Devils Friday. Lefthander Nick Mondak will be on the bump for Tri-City. Tyler Zickel will have the play-by-play on CanadiansBaseball.com and MiLB.TV.
Radar Gun Rundown
In Game 1, Dominguez had strikeouts of 92, 92, 93, 93, 93 and 86 miles per hour and checked in at 80. Mendoza struck out a batter at 93 and was at 77. Svanson rung up batters at 84, 94, 95 and 95 miles per hour and was at 83.
In Game 2, Dallas had K’s of 82, 84 and 83 and was around 80-95, touching 96 and 98. Kelly was in the low-to-mid 90’s. Cooke had a strikeout at 86 and was at 80 and 95.