The Vancouver Canadians opened up their series against the Hillsboro Hops with a 4-3 win at Nat Bailey Stadium Tuesday.
The C’s began the scoring with a two-out rally in the fourth inning. Riley Tirotta singled to center on the final pitch from Hops starter Yilber Diaz. The first pitch from Jackson Goddard resulted in a double to right field by Miguel Hiraldo to bring in Tirotta all the way from first.
Hillsboro would get on the board in the fifth inning against Abdiel Mendoza. A four-pitch walk to Ramses Malave and a single to right on a 3-2 pitch by S.P. Chen set up a Ryan Bliss double off the center field wall to score Malave with the tying run and advance Chen to third. Matt Svanson was brought in from the Vancouver bullpen and got ahead of Caleb Roberts at 1-2 but Roberts lifted a 2-2 offering to right field that Tirotta lost sight of. That allowed Chen and Bliss to cross the plate and give Hillsboro a 3-1 lead.
The Canadians got one run back in their fifth at-bat when Alex De Jesus got to second on a hustle double to right field with one out and came in to score on a Gabby Martinez base hit to right off Goddard.
Vancouver would score again in the sixth. Hiraldo worked a full-count walk with one out before Andrés Sosa slammed a two-run home run into the left field porch off Justin Martinez to put the C’s ahead for good.
Gabby Martinez made a sliding grab on a sinking liner from Bliss to help Mendoza record the first out of the ball game. Mendoza issued a two-out walk to Deyvison De Los Santos but he bracketed that with strikeouts of Roberts and A.J. Vukovich.
Sosa threw out Coursey trying to steal after a one-out walk in the second. Channy Ortiz followed with a two-out free pass but Mendoza got Malave looking at strike three to end the inning after beginning it with a whiff of Neyfy Castillo.
In the third inning, Sosa got Bliss trying to purloin second base after a one-out walk to end the frame. Mendoza struck out De Los Santos swinging to begin the fourth and worked around a two-out free pass to Castillo by getting Cam Coursey to ground out to second for a fielder’s choice. Chen’s base hit in the fifth was the first of two that Mendoza allowed.
Svanson struck out De Los Santos swinging and Vukovich looking to strand Roberts after his gift double in the sixth. Castillo got an infield single to start the sixth but Svanson struck out Coursey after Castillo swiped second and retired the side in order. In the seventh, Roberts singled to center with two outs but Svanson struck out the side by getting Chen swinging and Bliss and De Los Santos looking.
Mendoza was charged with three runs on two hits and six walks while ringing up five batters over 4-1/3 innings. Svanson improved to 3-0 by scattering three hits while punching out six batters over 2-2/3 innings.
Garrett Farmer worked a 1-2-3 eighth inning and struck out Castillo and Coursey to end his night and pick up his second hold. Connor Cooke locked it down with a 1-2-3 ninth that included a reverse-K of Malave for his fifth save.
Damiano Palmegiani was Vancouver’s first baserunner as he was hit in the left elbow by a Diaz pitch with one out in the first inning. Palmegiani went to second on a wild pitch with two outs but Rainer Nuñez bounced out to the mound which Diaz knocked down to start a 1-3 putout.
P.K. Morris gave one a ride to the warning track in deep center field but it wound up in the glove of Vukovich. Tirotta had a two-out base hit to right for the C’s first safety and went to second on a wild pitch but Hiraldo could not check his swing on a 3-2 pitch.
Sosa started the third inning by flaring one just fair down the right field line for a double. Brown was then hit in the left arm with a Diaz pitch but Palmegiani popped up to short on an infield fly rule before De Jesus and Nuñez struck out swinging.
The C’s came close to adding a second run after Hiraldo’s double. Sosa hit a slow roller to the left of the second base bag that Chen made a diving stop on. Even though Sosa beat it out for an infield single, Hiraldo had to be held up at third. Brown would then pop up to Chen at second for the third out.
Vancouver loaded up the bases against Justin Martinez in the seventh inning when De Jesus led off with a base hit to right and Gabby Martinez singled to center and Morris singled to left with one out but Tirotta struck out swinging and Hiraldo flied to right.
Palmegiani was the last C’s runner on base when he singled to left off Geraldo Ogando with two outs in the eighth but pinch-runner Garrett Spain was stranded when De Jesus was called out on strikes. Sosa nearly got on base to begin the inning on a fly ball to left which Roberts had trouble finding but he dropped to his knees to make the catch.
Spain stayed in the game and took over in right field while Tirotta moved from right to third base to replace Palmegiani in the top of the ninth.
Sosa was 3-for-4 with his fifth home run of the year and was a triple shot of the cycle. He also threw out two of three runners trying to steal. De Jesus, Gabby Martinez and Tirotta all had two hits apiece. Hiraldo had an RBI double and a walk, Palmegiani singled and was hit by a pitch and Brown also took one for the team. Vancouver was 3-for-12 with RISP and stranded 11 runners.
The Toronto Blue Jays have released 2017 Vancouver Canadians pitcher Graham Spraker. The winning pitcher in Games 1 and 3 of the 2017 Northwest League final against the Eugene Emeralds was a 31st round pick by the Jays in 2017 out of Quincy and made it as far as Triple-A Buffalo in 2019, 2021 and 2022. He participated in the AFL Rising Stars Game in the Arizona Hall League and was named the AFL’s Reliever of the Year in 2021.
Also released by the Blue Jays was 2018, 2021 and 2022 C’s righthander Sean Wymer. The 2018 fourth-round pick from Texas Christian University was promoted to Double-A New Hampshire after going 4-1 with a 3.90 ERA for the C’s this season. The Flower Mound, Texas native made just one appearance for the Fisher Cats and gave up a run over one inning against Erie August 11.
The Jays also released 2016 C’s hurler Mike Ellenbest. The Parma, Ohio native was taken in the 24th round by Toronto in the 2016 MLB Draft out of Saginaw Valley State. After starting his pro career with the C’s in 2016, the righthander made it to Triple-A Buffalo this season after stops in Dunedin and New Hampshire.
All the best to Graham Spraker, Sean Wymer and Mike Ellenbest in their future endeavours.
North Vancouver native and 2018, 2021 and 2022 C’s pitcher Will McAffer has joined the Winnipeg Goldeyes of the independent American Association. He joins 2021 C’s outfielder Eric Rivera and 2017 outfielder Reggie Pruitt Jr. on the Winnipeg roster.
The transactions page at CanadiansBaseball.com says righthander Nathanael Perez Lopez will join the C’s from Dunedin. The 24 year-old from Azua in the Dominican Republic has been in the Toronto Blue Jays organization since July 11, 2016 when he signed as a free agent. The 6-foot-1, 160-pound hurler gave up a run in two appearances with the FCL Blue Jays before being sent up to Dunedin. Over 10 relief appearances and one start, he posted a 3-1 record with a 1.24 earned run average and a 31-13 strikeout/walk total over 29 innings. He limited Florida State League hitters to a .198 batting average, recorded a walks-hits-inninngs pitched ratio of 1.10 and converted both of his save opportunities
Vancouver is back to 10 games over .500 in the second half at 29-19, leaving them 1-1/2 games back of Eugene for first place. The C’s lead over Spokane for second place in the overall standings is now up 1-1/2 games after Spokane lost in Everett Tuesday. The C’s are 59-52 on the season.
The Canadians and Hops play again Wednesday with Michael Dominguez scheduled to fire the first pitch at 7:05 p.m. Scott Randall goes on the hill for Hillsboro. The game is on CanadiansBaseball.com and MiLB.TV at 7:05 p.m.
Radar Gun Rundown
Mendoza struck out batters at 78, 93, 80, 92 and 79 miles per hour and also checked in at 77. Svanson had K’s at 84, 95, 94, 96, 95 and 95. Farmer had punchouts of 75 and 84 and was around 72. Cooke had a K of 86 and was up to 97.