The Vancouver Canadians fell to the Hillsboro Hops 4-3 at Nat Bailey Stadium Sunday.
A.J. Vukovich opened the scoring with a home run to center field with one out in the fourth inning off Nathanael Pérez Lopez to give Hillsboro a 1-0 lead.
The Hops tripled their lead in the fifth against Justin Kelly. The righthander sawed off Fox Semones on a soft liner to Damiano Palmegiani to third but a throwing error by Alex De Jesus on a routine ground ball to short allowed Ryan Bliss to reach base with one out. Caleb Roberts drew a walk and Deyvison De Los Santos singled up the middle on an 0-2 offering to bring in Bliss and get Roberts over to third. Vukovich hit into a 5-4 fielder’s choice to score Roberts with the Hops third run.
The Canadians rallied in the sixth against Marcos Tineo. A one-out single to left by Dasan Brown (the first hit to the outfield of the day) and an infield single to the mound by Andrés Sosa set up an RBI single to left field by Damiano Palmegiani to score Brown. An infield base hit by Rainer Nuñez to short scored Sosa from second and sent Palmegiani from third. A sacrifice fly to left by P.K. Morris allowed Palmegiani to score the tying run uncontested as Vukovich jogged in a few steps thinking it was the third out before making the throw back to the infield.
The Hops would regain the lead in the eighth against Mason Fluharty. A leadoff double to left by De Los Santos was advanced to third on a Neyfy Castillo single to left on a 1-2 pitch with one out. Channy Ortiz then lined a single to center to score De Los Santos. Castillo ran into the final out of the frame on an 8-5 putout but the damage was done and the Hops held on for the win.
Pérez Lopez stranded a Bliss double to left to start the game as the Hops shortstop snuck the ball by a diving Palmegiani at third. After a Roberts fly out to left and a Sosa passed ball that moved Bliss to third, Pérez Lopez struck out De Los Santos swinging and knocked down a drive at the mound from Vukovich before starting a 1-3 putout.
Castillo worked a leadoff walk in the second inning but a Gavin Logan 6-3 double play and Ortiz grounder to short helped Pérez Lopez face the minimum.
Pérez Lopez gave up an infield single in the third inning when Fox Semones got to first as the throw from Palmegiani at third went off the netting along the Hops first base dugout and into shallow right field. That’s where Garrett Spain lobbed the ball back into the field and Semones stepped to his left instead of his right when sauntering back to the bag. Nuñez applied the tag just in time before Semones stepped on first base and was called out. Bliss drew a two-out walk but was stranded when Roberts grounded out to second.
Kelly came on in relief in the fourth to strike out Ortiz swinging and get Ramses Malave to ground out to third to strand the Castillo RBI double and Logan walk. The righthander struck out Castillo swinging to strand Vukovich who stole second after his fielder’s choice RBI and retired the side in order in the sixth.
Fluharty also had a 1-2-3 inning in the seventh before surrendering the winning run in the eighth. Watson got Malave to line out to right before striking out Semones and Bliss swinging.
The pitching line for Pérez Lopez was 3-1/3 innings of one-run ball on four hits and three walks with three strikeouts. Four of his five outs in play were on the dirt. Kelly stranded both Pérez Lopez runners to end the fourth. He had two unearned runs on his ledger with a hit and a walk and struck out two over 2-2/3 innings. Fluharty took the loss after two innings of one-run ball on three hits while ringing up a pair of batters. Watson whiffed two in a three-up, three-down ninth.
Nuñez was the first Vancouver batter to reach base with a leadoff walk by Hops starter Yilber Diaz in the second inning but made it no further.
Sosa also got a free pass to start the fourth and a Palmegiani infield single to second put two runners on but Nuñez hit into a 6-4-3 double play and Morris struck out swinging to leave Sosa at third.
After Morris’ sac fly in the sixth, Miguel Hiraldo came up to the plate with runners at the corners but he struck out swinging to end the frame.
Spain dropped down a bunt single to third with one out in the eighth and Brown had a two-out knock to the hot corner. They moved up 90 feet on a Tineo balk but Sosa hit a comeback to the mound for out number three.
Nuñez walked with one out in the eighth but Morris hit into a 6-3 double play that forced pinch-runner Gabby Martinez out at second.
The C’s tried to get something going in the ninth when De Jesus walked after Hiraldo struck out swinging and Glenn Santiago singled to right after Spain went down swinging but Dillon Larsen struck out Brown to end the game.
Brown and Palmegiani had two hits apiece and Nuñez was on base three times with a hit and two walks. Sosa got on base a couple of times with a base hit and a base on balls. Spain and Santiago had the other singles. There were no extra-base knocks or stolen base attempts as Vancouver left seven men on base while going 2-for-6 with runners in scoring position.
The only saving grace for Monty’s Mounties is that they lost no ground in the standings for a second straight day. Their second-half and overall records are at 31-22 and 61-55, leaving them 1-1/2 games behind first-place Eugene and 1-1/2 games ahead of Spokane for the final playoff spot.
The first of a seven-game series against the Spokane Indians begins tonight at Avista Stadium. Lefty Ryley Widell will throw the first pitch for Spokane at 6:35 p.m. Abdiel Mendoza gets the start for Vancouver.
A number of roster moves have been made. Infielders Leo JIménez and Riley Tirotta have been placed on the seven-day injured list August 23 and 26 respectively. Lefty Ricky Tiedemann is now on the Development List after spending time with Double-A New Hampshire where he promoted to from Vancouver.
Coming to Vancouver from Dunedin are infielder Michael Turconi and pitcher Devereaux Harrison. The 23 year-old Turconi hails from Pittsburgh and was Toronto’s 15th round pick in the 2022 MLB Draft out of Wake Forest where 2017 C’s pitcher Donnie Sellers attended. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound left-handed hitter slashed .278/.397/.370 with two doubles, a home run and a stolen base in 17 games. Turconi will be wearing number 29.
Harrison was the Blue Jays ninth-round selection in this year’s draft out of Long Beach State. The 21 year-old from Vallejo, California has two holds and a save in five relief appearances with Dunedin. The 6-foot-0, 190-pound righthander struck out nine batters and walked four over seven innings of work. Harrison will be donning number 34.
Also, the Blue Jays have released 2019 C’s righthander Grant Townsend. The Lake Tapps, Washington native enjoyed his greatest success with the C’s after being drafted by Toronto in the 34th round of the 2018 Major League Baseball Draft out of Oral Roberts. He put up a 3.56 earned run average over seven starts and one relief appearance with Vancouver, striking out 39 batters and walking 13 over 30-1/3 innings. Townsend was on the mound only twice with Dunedin in 2021 before undergoing Tommy John surgery. All the best to him in his future endeavours.
Radar Gun Rundown
Pérez Lopez was around 79-89 miles pe hour with punchouts at 87, 82 and 88. Kelly was around 79-95 with K’s of 84 and 88. Fluharty struck out batters at 79 and 80 and was up to 91. Watson had a strikeout at 87 and was around 96-98 while also touching 103!