The Vancouver Canadians stunned the Tri-City Dust Devils with a 5-4 comeback win at Nat Bailey Stadium on Friday.
Abdiel Mendoza got the start for Vancouver and retired the side in order in the top of the first that included an inning-ending strikeout of Osmy Gregorio.
Michael Turconi made a bid for a hit to lead off the game in the bottom of the first after a two-homer effort on Thursday but Steven Rivas made a leaping grab in left field for the out. Dasan Brown wound up getting Vancouver’s first hit of the game with an infield single that handcuffed Casey Dana on the third base line. However, Tri-City starter Chase Chaney got Rainer Nuñez to chase a high breaking ball for strike three before Straton Podaras threw out Brown trying to steal second to end the frame.
Gabe Matthews had the first Dust Devils base hit off Mendoza with a poke to right. After Alexander Ramirez struck out swinging, Mendoza induced a tapper back to the mound from Joe Stewart and started a 1-4-3 double play which Turconi was able to turn after making a nice pick on a low throw from Mendoza to second.
The Canadians put the first two runners on in the second when Alan Roden walked and Cade Doughty was drilled on the left elbow by Chaney. Josh Kasevich forced out Doughty on a 6-4 fielder’s choice as Osmy Gregorio ranged to his right before making the off-balance toss to second. With runners on the corner, Vancouver could not capitalize as Devonte Brown hit a shallow fly to right field and Riley Tirotta popped out to second.
Mendoza took care of Tri-City with three-up, three-down third and fourth innings, highlighted by a nice running shoestring catch by Devonte Brown toward the right field line in the third by Dana and Mendoza helping his own cause by fielding a one-hopper back to the hill by D’Shawn Knowles to start the fourth, which also included an inning-ending K of Gregorio.
For Vancouver, a one-out walk by Turconi in the third was erased when Dasan Brown hit into a room service double play with Gregorio conveniently positioned near the second base bag to start a 6-4-3 twin-killing. Doughty banged an opposite-field double off the wall to right with two outs in the fourth but Kasevich grounded out to third.
The Dust Devils would score first in the fifth. Alexander Ramirez singled up the gut with one out off Mendoza and proceeded to steal second. Mendoza struck out Joe Stewart swinging but Dana’s single to shallow center scored Ramirez. The ball was flared just out of the reach of a diving Turconi as the ball glanced off his glove as he tried to run the ball down from his second base position.
Vancouver had another two-out double in the fifth inning courtesy of Karl Ellison as he hit one to the left field corner but Turconi grounded out to third for the final out.
The Dust Devils expanded their lead in the sixth when C’s reliever Sam Ryan walked Straton Podaras before yielding an RBI double to Knowles on a 0-2 pitch. The ball jutted out on the side wall near the right field corner away from Devonte Brown and that allowed Podaras to make it home. Knowles got to third on a grounder to second from Arol Vera and raced home on another ground ball to second from Gregorio. The infield was drawn in and Turconi bobbled the ball when he tried to throw it home but recovered to make the play at first instead.
Robinson Piña entered the game from the Tri-City bullpen and got the first two men he faced. A fielding error by Gregorio at short allowed Roden to get to first base before Doughty doubled to left to put two runners in scoring position but Kasevich could not beat out a grounder to third.
The Dust Devils threatened to score in the seventh when Stewart singled up the middle with one out and advanced another 180 feet on a stolen base and a throwing error by Ellison behind the plate. Ryan would strand Stewart by striking out Casey Dana looking and Steven Rivas swinging.
After Piña struck out the side swinging in the bottom of the seventh, Tri-City struck again for another run against T.J. Brock. A one-out base knock to right by Knowles, a steal of second and a wild pitch led to the infield coming in. That set up an RBI double to right field by Vera that got past a diving Tirotta at first base to up the Double-D’s lead to 4-0. Brock got Gregorio to tap back to the mound for the second out and then overcame a Gabe Matthews walk that resulted in runners on the corner by getting Ramirez to pop out to short.
Lefthander Nick Jones relieved Piña in the eighth inning but the left-handed hitting Turconi was able to land an opposite-field single to left with nobody out. Dasan Brown then snuck a ground ball to right field on a 0-2 pitch just under the glove of Vera and he and Turconi moved up a base when Jones uncorked a wild pitch. Alex De Jesus came off the bench to pinch hit and doubled down the left field line to drive in Turconi and Brown and cut the Dust Devils lead in half at 4-2. Roden singled to center to drive in De Jesus with the third Vancouver run. A Jones wild pitch allowed Roden to reach second and he would score the tying run on a one-out opposite-field base hit to right by Kasevich and a fielding error by Stewart. Roden had held up at third before shifting gears and racing home. Dylan King was brought into the game by Dust Devils manager Jack Howell but Devonte Brown tripled off the wall in left-center to drive in Kasevich for the go-ahead run. The Center fielder Knowles tried to convince the umpires that Brown should have had a ground-rule double with the ball struck at the bottom of the fence under the C’s Diamond Vision video scoreboard. Tirotta walked and stole second base with two outs but Turconi’s second at-bat in the inning resulted in a flyout to left.
Vancouver manager Brent Lavallee called for Justin Kelly to pitch the ninth. After Stewart grounded to short and Dana lined out to first, Rivas went up the middle on a 2-2 pitch for a two-out hit. On a 1-2 offering, Podaras grounded one to third but a throwing error by Doughty when Tirotta could not make the pick at first allowed Podaras to reach first safely. Two pitches later, Knowles lifted an infield pop up on the left side of the field that Doughty was able to corral for the final out.
Catcher Karl Ellison made his C’s debut as he was activated from the Development List. The counter move saw Juan Gonzalez head back to the Florida Complex League Blue Jays.
Dahian Santos will make his first start of the year for Monty’s Mounties. Bryce Osmond gets the call for the Dust Devils in a 1:05 p.m. first pitch at the Nat. Tyler Zickel is on the call at CanadiansBaseball.com and MiLB.TV.
Radar Gun Rundown
Mendoza came in a 79-96 miles per hour with strikeouts registered at 87, 79, 87 and 94.
Ryan was at 78-93 with Ks of 88 and 90. Brock checked in from 88-96 and Kelly was clocked at 87-97.