The Vancouver Canadians inched closer to a berth in the Northwest League final after a 7-6 win over the Spokane Indians at Avista Stadium Saturday.
Spokane scored quickly against Dahian Santos in the first inning. Braiden Ward walked on a. 3-2 pitch, stole second base and scored on an Eddy Diaz double to give the home side a 1-0 lead just two batters into the game.
The Canadians pulled even in the third against Case Williams. A Dasan Brown single to center was moved into scoring position on a one-out comebacker to the mound by Rainer Nuñez. A single to right by P.K. Morris on a 0-2 pitch out brought in Brown for the tying run.
The game was untied by Spokane a half-inning later as Colin Simpson led off with a double to right with a feet-first slide just ahead of the tag at second after a strong throw by Garrett Spain. A grounder to third by Drew Romo got Simpson over to third before a sacrifice fly Ronaiker Palma scored Simpson to give Spokane a 2-1 lead.
The Canadians would grab their first lead of the night in the fifth when Spain worked the count full for a leadoff walk and Brown singled on a 1-2 pitch in front of Damiano Palmegiani. The Surrey slugger cleared the center field fence on the first pitch he saw from Williams to put Vancouver up 4-2. Nuñez followed with a double to center and was able to gain another 90 feet on a Morris grounder to first. Gabby Martinez would score Nuñez by pulling a double to left which ended the night for Williams.
The C’s would add another run against Anderson Pilar in the sixth. Miguel Hiraldo beat out an infield singe to third and Spain walked with nobody out. A wild pitch moved both runners up before a one-out grounder to short by Palmegiani resulted in Hiraldo being thrown out at the plate. Pilar would throw another pitch that got away from Palma behind the plate and that allowed Spain to cross the plate with Vancouver’s sixth run.
That four-run lead would disappear in the eighth when a one-out base hit to left by Hunter Goodman and a safety by Simpson to right put runners on the corners against Eric Pardinho. After striking out Romo, Pardinho took a line drive off his right leg by Palma that would not only score Goodman but force the Brazilian righty to leave the game. Devereaux Harrison walked Mateo Gil on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases and could not field a smash by Robby Martin on the mound that went into center field for a two-run single to score Simpson and Palma. Pinch-hitter Bladimir Restituyo got Gil home from third with an infield single to short to tie the game at 6-6.
The Canadians would break the tie in the top of the 10th against Juan Mejia. Placed runner and pinch-runner Glenn Santiago was pushed over to third on an Alex De Jesus grounder to short and came in to score on a Hiraldo sac fly to right.
Vancouver had an opportunity to score first in the first inning against Williams. Palmegiani reached base with one out when Goodman could handle a throw at first from Diaz at second. Nuñez doubled to right field to get Palmegiani over to third but Morris popped up to short and Sosa flied out to center.
The second inning started promisingly when Martinez singled to left and De Jesus singled to center but Hiraldo flied out to center and Spain hit into a 6-3 double play.
Martinez had a two-out single to third in the seventh and Hiraldo started the eighth with a base hit to left but Pilar would strike out De Jesus looking and retire Palmegiani on a 6-4 fielder’s choice to end those frames.
Vancouver had an opportunity to regain the lead in the ninth when Andrés Sosa took one for the team with two outs. He ran to second on a wild pitch but Mejia got Martinez to fly out to center.
Martinez led Vancouver’s 12-hit attack with a 3-for-5 night that included a double. Brown and Hiraldo had two singles and Nuñez had two doubles. Palmegiani hit his 13th homer of the year and Morris contributed an RBI single. De Jesus had a base knock, Spain walked twice and Sosa took one for the team. Vancouver had 15 at-bats with runners in scoring position and converted three times with nine men stranded.
Santos prevented the first inning from getting out of hand. He threw a wild pitch that moved Ward’s RBI double to third but struck out Goodman swinging and Romo looking with a Simpson pop-up to short in between.
A double to center by Palma started the bottom of the second but Santos struck out Gil, Martin and Navarro for his first scoreless inning. Santos would strike out the side in the third by getting Ward looking and Diaz and Goodman swinging. In the fifth, Santos stranded Ward at third after a two-out bunt single to third by ringing up Diaz looking on a full-count pitch.
Garrett Farmer kept the good times rolling for Vancouver in the sixth with a perfect frame, striking out Romo swinging to send the game into the seventh.
Pardinho managed to strand a Palma leadoff single to left and a two-out walk to Cristopher Navarro in the seventh by striking out Ward swinging after whiffing Martin earlier.
T.J. Brock was able to end the disastrous eighth and keep the game tied but it did not come easy. Another infield single to third by Ward off Harrison re-loaded the bases but pinch-runner Yorvis Torrealba was left at third when Brock struck out Diaz swinging on a 3-2 pitch.
The righthander from Ohio State survived a nervous ninth. He walked Goodman to start the frame and gave up a two-out single to right by Palma that sent Goodman to third. After Palma took second on defensive indifference, Brock got Gil to fly out and send the game into overtime.
The 10th inning saw Spokane get the tying and winning runs in scoring position when Brock walked Torrealba before handling a sacrifice bunt that moved Torrealba to second and the placed runner Gil to third. Nic Kent—who entered the game as a defensive replacement at third base and took Ward’s spot in the batting order—lifted a fly ball to right that was caught by Spain. Gil wound up getting in a rundown between third and home and was tagged out by Sosa on a 9-2-5-2 game-ending putout.
Santos surrendered two runs on four this and a walk with 10 strikeouts over five innings, slicing his 27.00 ERA right in half. Farmer struck out one in a perfect sixth before Pardinho allowed three runs on four hits and a walk but struck out three over 1-2/3 innings. Harrison allowed two Pardinho runners to score and gave up the tying run on three hits and a walk without retiring anybody. Brock got his first professional win by stranding the bases loaded for Harrison and worked around one hit and two walks while whiffing one over 2-1/3 innings.
The Canadians are 10 games over .500 with an overall record of 66-56 and a 5-1/2 game lead over Spokane for second place and a berth in the Northwest League final. Monty’s Mounties also improved its second-half record to 36-23, leaving them one game behind Eugene for first place.
With a magic number of two totalling Vancouver wins and Spokane losses, the C’s can punch their ticket to the post-season with a win in Spokane Sunday. Mason Green will throw the first pitch for Spokane at 6:35 p.m. Nathanael Pérez Lopez will do likewise for Vancouver. The game can be heard on CanadiansBaseball.com with Tyler Zickel on the call. The C’s On Deck pregame show begins at 6:00 p.m. on the local sports radio station. It may be archived afterwards or not so it might be a good idea to tune in live. For some reason, last week’s show was not posted and there’s six weeks of shows missing from June to most of July. Just sayin’!