The Vancouver Canadians assured themselves of a series split after defeating the Hillsboro Hops 5-3 at Nat Bailey Stadium Friday.
Gabby Martinez got the C’s rolling with a leadoff single to center on the first pitch from Chad Patrick to start the second inning. Miguel Hiraldo doubled to left-center to get Martinez over to third. Patrick struck out Garrett Spain swinging but Jommer Hernandez walked to load the bases. Glenn Santiago delivered a single into right field to plate Martinez with the game’s first run. Andrés Sosa then walked with the bases loaded to bring in Hiraldo and make it 2-0 Vancouver.
The Canadians went ahead 3-0 when Hiraldo hit a 1-2 pitch from Patrick to the left field porch with two outs in the third.
Hillsboro staged a two-out rally to tie the game at sixth. C’s starter Trenton Wallace got the first two outs of the inning but hit Caleb Roberts on the right elbow. That was it for Wallace as he turned the ball over to Sam Ryan who could not get the final strike of the inning. Roberts stole second but Ryan got ahead of A.J. Vukovich 0-2. Two pitches later, Vukovich sent a lightning bolt off the sign of the left field porch for a two-run homer to cut the Vancouver lead to 3-2. The inning should have ended when Neyfy Castillo lifted a fly ball to shallow left that Santiago had a bead on at short but he collided with left fielder P.K. Morris who was given an error. With Castillo at second, Channy Ortiz dunked a ground rule double to left that just landed fair before hopping in the seats on the third base side. That scored Castillo with the tying run.
Martinez jumpstarted the sixth with a leadoff walk after holding up on a check swing against Collin Sullivan. Five pitches later, Martinez was joined on the base paths by Hiraldo who also heard ball four. The runners moved up when Garrett Spain chopped one to Deyvison De Los Santos at first base who made a backhanded play before throwing the ball to Sullivan covering the bag for the 3-1 putout. Hernandez then put the C’s ahead by lining a single to left to drive in Martinez.
A double off the center field wall by Santiago scored Hiraldo for an insurance marker.
Wallace enjoyed his most dominant outing with Monty’s Mounties. The lefty retired Ryan Bliss on the first pitch of the game with a groundout to first before plunking Jarrod Watkins two pitches later. Wallace trailed De Los Santos in the count at 3-1 before getting him to pop out to first and then struck out Roberts looking on three straight pitches for the third out.
The second and third innings featured five strikeouts from Wallace to overcome a hit by pitch to Bliss after the Hops shortstop was hit in the right leg with two outs in the third. A bloop base hit to left by De Los Santos on a 0-2 pitch led off the fourth. Vukovich got an infield single to short but Wallace stranded the runners by getting Castillo to fly out to center and Ortiz to pop out to second.
The beat went on for Wallace as he struck out the side all swinging in the fifth before exiting with two outs in the sixth. Ryan finally got out of that frame after the Hops tied it when Ramses Malave was called for batter interference. Hernandez tried to pick off Ortiz at second but Malave stepped in front of the C’s catcher after a swing and miss. That was a break for Vancouver as Hernandez’s throw sailed into center field.
Ryan struck out Fox Semones looking to open the seventh but Bliss got on base with an infield single to short. Hernandez threw out Bliss trying to swipe second with Santiago getting spiked on the left leg causing him to hobble off into shallow left field. He would remain in the game. Hernandez then caught a popup in front of Ryan in front of the plate on a 3-2 pitch to Watkins to finish the frame.
The Hops got the winning run to the plate in the eighth against Matt Svanson after De Los Santos and Vukovich singled to right with a called strikeout of Roberts in between. Svanson would get out of the jam by getting Castillo to ground out into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.
With Dasan Brown entering the game in center field, Spain moving from center to right and Martinez switching from right to left, Connor Cooke took care of Hillsboro in the ninth with an Ortiz fly out to left, a Malave grounder to third and a game-ending Semones swinging strikeout.
Wallace was line for the W after allowing just one run on two hits and three hit by pitches in 5-2/3 innings. He struck out 11 batters and got three of his four outs in play on the ground. The run was charged to Wallace after Ryan surrendered a two-run homer. Ryan had two runs on his pitching line (one earned) on three hits and struck out one in 1/1-3 innings to get the win. Svanson overcame two hits and struck out one in a scoreless eighth. Cooke had a game-ending punchout to punctuate a 1-2-3 inning to collect save number six.
Sosa smoked a double off the manual scoreboard in center field on the second pitch of the game from Patrick. Damiano Palmegiani tried to sneak one up the middle but Ortiz made a backhand play just on the shortstop side of second base and just got Palmegiani by half-a-step at first. That moved Sosa to third but Morris struck out swinging and Nuñez hit one right on the button but it was at Ortiz to end the frame.
The bases remained loaded after Sosa’s RBI walk in the second inning but Palmegiani flied out to shallow left which did not allow Hernandez to tag up and score. Morris then hit one to the edge of the warning track in right-center to end the inning.
Morris hit another ball hard but had nothing to show for it when his one-out drive to center field was caught by Semones on the warning track. That was Patrick’s final batter of the game. Sullivan needed just one pitch to get Nuñez to ground out to short to end the inning.
Vancouver was unable to pad its lead in the sixth after Santiago’s double. Hops lefty Dillon Larsen subbed in for Sullivan and struck out Sosa and Palmegiani looking. The Surrey, B.C. native disagreed with home plate umpire Paul Roemer on the final two strikes which looked to be off the plate inside.
It was not Morris’ lucky day at the dish. He was robbed of a double on a running catch by Roberts in the left field corner to start the seventh. Rainer Nuñez singled to left but Martinez grounded into a 6-4-3 double play.
Hernandez was the last runner to reach base for Vancouver in the eighth courtesy of a fielding error by Vukovich at third with two outs before Jackson Goddard got Santiago to fly out to right.
Hiraldo needed just a triple to complete the cycle as he hit his 18th double of the year and his sixth homer while scoring three times. Santiago had a double and a single with two runs batted in. Sosa was on base twice with a double, a walk and an RBI. Martinez reached safely with a single and a walk and scored twice. Hernandez also had a knock, a walk and the game-winning RBI. Nuñez had the other base hit for Vancouver who were 3-for-12 with runners in scoring position with seven men left on.
Vancouver bumps up its overall record to 61-53 and its second-half mark to 31-20. The C’s now lead Spokane by 1-1/2 games for the final playoff spot and remain 1-1/2 games behind Eugene for first place in the second-half standings.
The Canadians and Hops go at it again Saturday. Dahian Santos makes his Nat Bailey Stadium debut and he will go against Avery Short. The game is on CanadiansBaseball.com and MiLB.TV at 7:05 p.m.
Radar Gun Rundown
Wallace was around 79-95 miles per hour and had strikeouts of 90, 90, 79, 79, 81, 89, 91, 89 and 78 Ryan had a reverse K of 92 and ranged from 82-96. Svanson rung up a batter looking at 98 and was also at 84. Cooke was around 85-95 and ended the game with a strikeout at 97.