The Vancouver Canadians lost to the Hillsboro Hops 9-5 at Nat Bailey Stadium Wednesday.
Hillsboro grabbed the lead in the third inning when Neyfy Castillo drew a one-out walk against Michael Dominguez and stole second base with two outs. Jarrod Watkins duelled Dominguez to a nine-pitch at-bat before singling on a 3-2 pitch to right field to score Castillo.
The Hops struck again in the fourth when Caleb Roberts ripped the first pitch of the inning from Dominguez over the right-center field wall to make it 2-0.
Roberts would go deep again to right against Naswell Paulino with one out in the sixth for another solo shot.
Hillsboro doubled their lead against Justin Kelly in the eighth. A Ryan Bliss single to center and an S.P. Chen base hit to left on a ball that Gabby Martinez dropped just fair on the left field line started the trouble. The runners were moved 90 feet on a ground ball by Deyvison De Los Santos. After a Roberts intentional walk, a passed ball by Anthony Morales allowed Bliss to score. An A.J. Vukovich bouncer to short scored Chen to make it 5-0 and Castillo then doubled to left to drive in Roberts for the sixth Hops run.
The C’s would make a game of it when Garrett Spain drew a walk on four straight pitches from Hugh Fisher to begin the inning. Morales then singled to center to get Spain over to third before Fisher plunked Dasan Brown in the right hand when he looked to lay down a bunt to load the bases. Andrés Sosa cut the Hillsboro lead in half with a bases-clearing double to chase Fisher from the game.
José Alcantara gave up a one-out single to center by Martinez to score Sosa. P.K. Morris singled to right to get Martinez over to second. After a Riley Tirotta 6-4 fielder’s choice, Hiraldo beat out an infield single to short to score Martinez to make it a 6-5 game.
The Hops thwarted the C’s comeback attempt in the ninth. Jarrod Watkins doubled to right off T.J. Brock and got to third when Fox Semones laid down a bunt single to third with two strikes. Bliss then delivered the dagger with a three-run homer to left.
The first indication it was not going to be Vancouver’s night came in the first inning. Brown worked a leadoff walk off Scott Randall but was doubled off at first on a Sosa fly ball to center. Brown slid into the second base bag and went back to the first base bag but was still ruled out. Such fantastic work by the umpiring crew of Matt Blackboro and Paul Roemer.
Morris had a ground-rule double in the second inning for the C’s first hit but Tirotta and Hiraldo both struck out swinging.
A leadoff double by Spain to right in the third was wasted as Randall whiffed Morales and Sosa with a Brown fly ball to left in between.
Morris doubled again with a ground-rule extra-bagger over the left field fence with two outs in the fourth but Tirotta grounded out to short. Randall retired the side in the fifth to get the win.
Marcos Tineo struck out Sosa and De Jesus to end a 1-2-3 sixth and only issued a two-out walk to Morris, beginning and ending the frame with a K of Martinez and a reverse K of Hiraldo.
The C’s were on the verge of tying the game when Spain worked the count to 3-1 on Alcantara after Hiraldo’s infield RBI single in the eighth but Spain grounded out to second to leave would-be pinch-hitter Rainer Nuñez on deck.
Damiano Palmegiani wound up pinch-hitting for Morales instead to begin the ninth. He worked the count to 3-1 against Alcantara but flied out to center on a full count. Brown and Sosa struck out swinging to end the game.
Morris had a perfect 3-for-3 night with two doubles and a walk. Spain got on base twice with a double and a walk as did Brown with a walk and a hit by pitch. Sosa, Martinez, Hiraldo and Morales also got into the hit column.
Dominguez pitched five innings of two-run ball, giving up a home run among four hits with a K/BB ratio of 7:1. Paulino surrendered a solo homer in the sixth. Kelly was victimized for three unearned runs on two hits and a walk over 1-2/3 innings. Brock struck out three but gave up three runs on three hits over the final 1-1/3 innings.
Vancouver drops to 59-53 on the season and their lead for the second playoff spot in the Northwest League overall standings is down to a half-game against Spokane. The C’s also lost ground to first-place Eugene in the second half standings and are now 29-20.
Reliever Jol Concepcion has been promoted to Double-A New Hampshire. The 6-foot-5, 195-pound righthander went 5-3 with a 4.17 earned run average with seven saves. The 23 year-old had a strikeout-walk total of 68-39 in 49-2/3 innings. Concepcion spent the end of last year with the C’s when they were headquartered in Hillsboro.
The Canadians and Hops play again Thursday night. It will be Chad Dallas on the mound for the C’s. Luke Albright gets the starting assignment for Hillsboro. The game is on CanadiansBaseball.com and MiLB.TV at 7:05 p.m.
Radar Gun Rundown
Dominguez struck out batters at 80, 84, 82, 93, 92, 80, and 84 miles per hour and was around 79-95. Paulino struck out a batter at 90 and was around 81-82. Kelly was around 81-94. Brock had K’s of 87, 95 and 87 and touched 99.