The Vancouver Canadians came from behind again to knock off the Tri-City Dust Devils 6-5 at Nat Bailey Stadium Saturday.
The C’s grabbed the lead in the second inning off Dust Devils starter Brett Killam. Andrés Sosa stung a leadoff double that hopped over the short fence in left field. He would move to third on a Garrett Spain single to right. Glenn Santiago flied out to center and Sosa held up at third but Spain tagged up from first and made it to second after Tri-City center fielder Joe Stewart threw the ball to home. Dasan Brown grounded out to third with the infield in for the second out but Leo Jiménez lined a double to left to score Sosa and Spain to give Vancouver a 2-0 lead.
The Dust Devils stormed back to take the lead in the fourth inning against Trenton Wallace. Christian Sepulveda crushed a double off the center field wall to begin the frame. Straton Podaras followed that with a walk and pinch-hitter Mike Peabody—who took over for José Ryes—was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Wallace was replaced by fellow southpaw Naswell Paulino. Christian Molfetta fouled out to third for the first out but Paulino could not put away the next two batters after getting ahead in the count at 0-2. D’Shawn Knowles singled to center field to score Sepulveda and Podaras to tie the game at 2-2. Zach Neto grounded into a 6-4 fielder’s choice to send in Peabody with the go-ahead run.
Vancouver would rally in the bottom of the fifth inning when Riley Tirotta rocked a triple off the center field to lead things off.
Jommer Hernandez grounded to short and Miguel Hiraldo struck out swinging but Sosa sent another ball over the fence in left field but this once bounced behind the fence into the C’s bullpen to put the home side ahead 4-3.
Tri-City would take the lead again in the seventh with a two-out rally. After Paulino retired Neto on a fly ball to center and struck out Gabe Matthews swinging, Vancouver manager Brent Lavallee made a call to the bullpen for Jol Concepcion. His first pitch was taken up the middle for a single by Osmy Gregorio. After falling behind in the count at 0-2, Joe Stewart smoked one over the fence in left-center field to give the Double-D’s a 5-4 lead. Santiago had lost track of the ball as he threw his arms up in the air but that ball was long gone.
Vancouver would respond right after the seventh inning stretch with a two-out rally of their own. Emilker Guzman walked Hiraldo after a seven-pitch at-bat. before Sosa went to the opposite field with a double to right that short-hopped the wall to score Hiraldo with the tying run.
The C’s were back at it again in the eighth. Ivan Armstrong plunked Santiago on a 3-0 pitch to start the inning. Brown struck out but Podaras sailed a throw down the right field on a pickoff attempt at first and that allowed Santiago to get to third. Jiménez drove one to the warning track in let field and that allowed Santiago to score the winning run.
Wallace did the high wire act in his three-plus innings of work. After getting Knowles to fly out to right field on the first pitch of the game, he walked Neto with one out in the first inning and issued free passes to Gregorio and Stewart after striking out Matthews swinging. Sepulveda grounded out to third to leave Tri-City empty-handed in the first.
A leadoff walk to Podaras was allowed to advance to second on a balk before Wallace got José Reyes on a comeback to the mound. The former Iowa Hawkeye then struck out Molfetta swinging before getting Knowles to ground out to short.
A free pass to Matthews with one out in the third was stranded when Wallace struck out Gregorio swinging and Stewart hit into an inning-ending 6-4 fielder’s choice. Sosa’s only misstep of the night was dropping a pop fly in foul tierritory along first base during the Stewart at-bat.
Paulino stranded Neto at second base after the Los Angeles Angels first round pick stole second base after his run-scoring fielder’s choice in the fourth inning by getting Matthews to ground out to short.
In the fifth inning, Paulino stranded a one-out Stewart walk and two-out stolen base by striking out Podaras swinging on a 3-2 pitch. The lefthander retired the last seven men he faced, including a Molfetta punchout in the sixth and a Matthews K to end his outing.
Concepcion coughed up another hit on an 0-2 pitch when Sepulveda lined a single up the middle. The C’s would catch a break to end the inning when Podaras hit Sepulveda with a sharp grounder to right. Podaras was credited with a single but Sepulveda was called out to stop the rally.
The eighth inning saw Spain make a nice running catch in foul territory to retire Molfetta and help Concepcion complete a three-up, three-down frame.
Neto opened the ninth with a base hit to right in which Spain slipped but recovered to keep the ball in front of him and hold Neto to a single. Matthews laid down a bunt in front of home plate but C’s catcher Jommer Hernandez pounced on the ball and threw to second to force out Neto on a 2-6 fielder’s choice. Gregorio lined out to first for the second out before Concepcion got Stewart to ground out to short to end the game.
Wallace gave up just one hit and struck out three but walked six and was charged with three runs over three-plus innings. Paulino could not strand any of Wallace’s three runners but pitched 3-2/3 innings of shutout ball with one hit and one walk while striking out four. Concepcion coughed up two runs on five hits over 2-1/3 innings and was charged with a blown save but got the win to up his record to 4-3.
The Canadians tried to break out on top in the first inning. Brown singled up the gut on a 3-2 pitch to start the frame and Jiménez just missed out on his sixth home run of the season as his deep fly ball was caught by Reyes at the warning track in front of the short left field fence. With two outs, Brown was picked off by Killam at first base but Sepulveda dropped the ball on a relay throw from Matthews at first base and Brown made it second on the E-4. Tirotta and Hernandez both walked to load the bases but Hiraldo struck out swinging for out number three.
The C’s staged a two-out rally in the third when Hiraldo lined a single to left and Sosa was hit in the left leg by a pitch but Killam K’ed Spain to strand the runners.
In the fourth, Brown pushed a bunt past Killam on the mound to get aboard with one out but Jiménez was robbed of a hit when Peabody—who pinch-hit for Reyes in the second inning—laid out to his right make a diving catch on a sinking liner in left field to put a damper on that rally.
Spain doubled on the first pitch after Sosa’s two-run homer in the fifth as Peabody nearly made another diving catch in left. That double was stranded when Santiago popped to short.
Sosa had a perfect Saturday at the plate by going 3-for-3 with his fourth home run, two doubles and a hit by pitch to drive in three runs. Brown and Spain had the other multi-hit games with two apiece. Jiménez doubled and added a sacrifice fly to give him three runs batted in. Tirotta and Hiraldo also made a dent in the hit column. Damiano Palmegiani and Hernandez drew a walk as all nine Vancouver batters reached base safely. The C’s were 3-for-12 with runners in scoring position and left 10 men on base.
Vancouver upped its second-half record to 22-12, good for a 1-1/2 game lead on Eugene for first place and a five-game bulge on Spokane. The C’s overall record at 52-45 leaves them 1-1/2 games ahead of Spokane for second place.
The Canadians welcomed two new players into town Saturday with the arrival of first baseman Rainer Nuñez and outfielder Gabriel Martinez from Dunedin. Nuñez was Dunedin’s team leader in batting average (.299), home runs (15) and runs batted in (63). The 21 year-old righthanded hitter hails from La Romana in the Dominican Republic. The Toronto Blue Jays signed him as a free agent on July 5, 2017. The 6-foot-3, 180-pound Nuñez will be wearing number 27.
Martinez has spent the majority of 2022 with Dunedin and batted .288 with 11 homers and 46 RBI. The 6-foot-0, 170-pound outfielder from Maracaibo, Venezuela was a free agent signing by Toronto on July 24, 2018. The right handed-hitting Martinez will be wearing number 2.
Radar Gun Rundown
Wallace struck out batters at 92, 79, and 82 miles per hour and was at 77. Paulino had punchouts of 81, 92 and 92 and was around 79-94. Concepcion was around 83-97.
It will be another battle of lefties to wrap up the season series between the Canadians and Dust Devils. Jimmy Robbins will throw the first pitch at 1:05 p.m. for Vancouver. He will be opposed by José Salvador. Join Tyler Zickel for the call on CanadiansBaseball.com and MiLB.TV.