The Vancouver Canadians won a back-and-forth affair against the Hillsboro Hops with a 10-9 victory at Nat Bailey Stadium Thursday.
The Hops wasted little time getting the first run of the game off Chad Dallas. The righty’s second pitch of the game was lined to right-center field by Ryan Bliss that went off the glove of a diving Dasan Brown for a triple. Jarrod Watkins then singled to right on the pitch to bring home Bliss.
Bliss and Watkins got to Dallas again in the third. A one-out walk by Bliss, a wild pitch and a Watkins double off the right field wall made it 2-0 Hillsboro.
The Canadians solved Luke Albright in a big way in the bottom of the third. Gabby Martinez was hit by a 1-2 pitch just above the left elbow guard on a 92-mile per hour to start the inning. Miguel Hiraldo then singled to center just past a diving Coursey at second to put the first two runners aboard. Spain singled up the middle and Martinez was waved around third but Semones threw out Martinez who could not jump out of the way of Caleb Roberts‘ tag at the plate. Brown struck out swinging for the second out but a wild pitch and an Andrés Sosa walk loaded the bases after he was behind in the count at one ball and two strikes. Damiano Palmegiani also trailed in the count by taking a called strike before swinging and missing for strike two. He did not miss a third time as he launched the ball to left-center field near the sideboard to turn a two-run deficit to a two-run lead for Monty’s Mounties.
Hillsboro would match that Vancouver four-run outburst with one of their own in the fifth. Gavin Logan singled to left on the first pitch from Dallas but was forced out on a Fox Semones 5-4 fielder’s choice. Semones swiped second and went to third on a wild pitch. Bliss heard ball four to put runners on the corners. Watkins would drive home his third run with a sacrifice fly to left to score Semones who beat the throw with a hook slide past the tag of Sosa. Deyvison De Los Santos put an end to Dallas’ night with a double that just landed fair down the left field wall and took an unfortunate carom off the side wall. That allowed Bliss to score all the way from first and De Los Santos gained an extra 90 feet on the throw home. Eric Pardinho trotted in from the bullpen and fell behind Caleb Roberts 3-0. The Hops catcher was given the green light to swing away and he put one over the wall in left-center for a three-run homer to make it 6-4 Hillsboro.
The Hops would get to Pardinho for another run in the sixth. Pardinho got ahead of Gavin Logan at one ball and two strikes before the Medicine Hat, Alberta-born designated hitter smacked a double off the wall in right field. Garrett Spain played the ball perfectly off the wall and fired a seed to second base but C’s shortstop Alex De Jesus was a step away from the bag and his tag was just late. Semones would make the Canadians pay by lining a single up the middle to score Logan to up the Hillsboro lead to 7-4.
Vancouver would respond in the sixth with their second four-run frame. Two five-pitch walks to Sosa and Palmegiani led to Albright’s exit and Junior Mieses came in from the bullpen. Rainer Nuñez went back up the middle to score Sosa with the fifth Vancouver run on an 0-2 pitch. P.K. Morris then jumped on a. 3-1 pitch and mashed it over the wall in right field to put the C’s back on top 8-7.
Hillsboro responded again with another two-out rally after being down to their last strike in the seventh. Lefty Mason Fluharty lost Roberts on a 3-2 pitch to walk him and Vukvovich would homer to center field to put the visitors up 9-8.
The Canadians would rally again in the seventh against Connor Grammes who walked Spain to start the frame. Brown was hit by a pitch on the left shoulder. The 97-mile per hour fastball went off Brown’s shoulder and high up along the netting just below the press box. Sosa drove one deep to right but Neyfy Castillo made a leaping catch with his back to the wall. Spain tagged up to go to third on the play. Brown would steal second before Grammes committed a balk that both umpires called right away after the righthander flinched but did not continue his motion to throw a pitch. That allowed Spain to cross home plate with the tying run and Brown to get to third.
With the infield in, Palmegiani sharply grounded to short where Bliss made a diving stab and threw to the plate but Brown used his blazing speed to beat the throw. However, he missed touching home plate the first time. The home plate umpire did not make a signal. Fortunately Brown realized his faux-pas and scrambled back to step on the pentagon for what stood up as the game winning run.
Sosa collected the Canadians first hit of the game with a one-out seeing-eye single to center field in the first inning. The C’s catcher was doubled off when he ran well past the second base bag on a fly ball to center by Palmegiani but could not make it back in time and that resulted in an inning-ending 8-4-3 double play.
Vancouver had just six hits and nobody had a two-hit night. Sosa was the on-base leader with two walks and a single. Palmegiani had a free pass to go along with his 10th homer of the year and his third salami as part of a five-RBI night. Spain was also on base twice had a single and a walk. Morris clubbed his 11th dinger and Hiraldo had a base hit. Brown took one for the team and stole his 10th base.
According to C’s broadcaster Tyler Zickel, the exit velocity of Palmegiani’s home run was 102 MPH and Morris’ rainmaker left the bat at 109.
Dallas settled down after the first inning by sitting down seven straight batters that featured strikeouts of Roberts, Logan and Semones. Palmegiani made a diving stop of a De Los Santos grounder in the first.
After giving up Watkins’ RBI double, Dallas struck out De Los Santos swinging for his second K of the third. He faced the minimum three batters in the fourth when a Vukovich single to right was wiped out on a batter’s interference call against Castillo, who did not swing the bat but it collided with Sosa’s hand and knocked the bat out of Castillo’s hands as Sosa tried to make a throw down to second to get Vukovich. Hops manager Vince Harrison got into a lengthy argument with home plate umpire Matt Blackborow and base umpire Paul Roemer but the batter’s interference call was upheld.
Palmegiani made another nice stop on a Semones sharp grounder to third but Hiraldo made a nice pick on the low throw and had to make like a first baseman to stretch out across the bag for the fielder’s choice.
Pardinho kept Semones at second after his RBI single and stolen base when he induced a foul pop up behind the plate. Sosa slipped but still managed to make the catch to end the inning.
Troy Watson entered the game with two outs in the eighth and nobody on but base hits by Semones to center and Bliss to left and a hit by pitch of Watkins on the left foot loaded the bases. De Los Santos then hit a slow roller that Hiraldo had to range over to the shortstop side of second and made the off-balance throw to Nuñez who did the splits at first base to dig out the throw to complete the 4-3 putout. The C’s appeared to catch a break as Nuñez’s right foot came off the bag but base umpire Roemer thought Nuñez kept the foot on the bag as Watson escaped the bases-loaded jam.
Nuñez did a nice job of digging out a low throw from Hiraldo to retire Vukovich on a bouncing ball to second for the second out of the ninth. That was the last time the Hops made contract as Watson completed a 1-2-3 ninth by striking out Castillo swinging on three pitches to end the game.
Glenn Santiago took over in left field for Martinez in the ninth inning.
Dallas was charged with five runs on six hits and two walks and struck out four over 4-2/3 innings. Of his nine outs in play, eight were on the ground as he threw 50 of his 70 pitches for strikes. Pardinho allowed a Dallas runner to come after surrendering a two-run homer among three hits in 1-2/1 innings, striking out two. Fluharty also gave up a two-run homer and a walk but struck out three over 1-1/3 innings in his Nat Bailey Stadium debut and earned his first win as a pro. Watson survived two singles and a walk with four consecutive outs to end the game to collect his first professional save.
Watson was wearing Leo Jiménez‘s number 8. The righthander normally wears number 14.
The Canadians wore their 1996-style retro jerseys for Throwback Thursday but did not wear the retro cap. They opted to wear their solid red caps instead.
Vancouver upped its overall record to 60-53 in the second half and maintained their half-game lead over Spokane for the final playoff spot. The C’s also improved to 30-20 in the second half and moved to 1-1/2 games of first place Eugene in the second half standings.
The Canadians and Hops get back to it Friday afternoon for another Nooner at the Nat. Lefthander Trenton Wallace is set to fire the first pitch at 1:05 p.m. for Vancouver. Chad Patrick gets the start for Hillsboro. The game is on CanadiansBaseball.com and MiLB.TV. All three games this weekend are sold out.
Infielder Hugo Cardona has been promoted to Double-A New Hampshire and 2019, 2021 and 2022 C’s infielder Trevor Schwecke has been sent up to Triple-A Buffalo after 2017 C’s shortstop Logan Warmoth was placed on the seven-day injured list.
The C’s new pitcher Nathanael Perez Lopez has been assigned number 30, previously worn by fellow righty Jol Concepcion after he was called up to New Hampshire.
Radar Gun Rundown
Strikeouts for Dallas were at 83, 84, 94, 86, 85 miles per hour. He was around 80-96 with one pitch clocked at 102 at one point but that is more than likely a case of the radar gun running hot. Pardinho has whiffs of 83 and 84 and was up to 94. Fluharty was around 77-93 with punchouts of 91, 89 and 80. Watson was around 85-98 with a K of 87.