The Vancouver Canadians came out on the right end of a see-saw affair against the Everett AquaSox with an 8-7 win at Funko Field on Wednesday.
The C’s put together a two-out rally against AquaSox starter Bernie Martinez in the first when Rainer Nuñez got aboard on an infield single on a 0-2 pitch to short that Axel Sanchez could not cleanly backhand. Martinez got ahead of De Jesus with two strikes but his 1-2 pitch was clubbed over the wall in center field just to the left of the 357-foot marker to give the C’s a 2-0 lead.
Like Martinez, Chad Dallas retired the first two hitters he faced by ringing up Jonatan Clase and Hogan Windish looking but the C’s starter ran into trouble by walking Alberto Rodriguez and giving up a double to left by Tyler Locklear. Ben Ramirez walked to load the bases but Dallas got out of the jam by getting Sanchez to pop up to Nuñez in foul territory with the C’s first baseman going back to make an over-the-shoulder catch.
The C’s doubled their lead in the second when Josh Kasevich—replacing Cade Doughty as the designated hitter—was hit by a pitch on the left shoulder by Martinez. Karl Ellison perfectly blooped a one-out single between Frogs second baseman James Parker and Clase in center to move Kasevich to second. Estiven Machado struck out swinging but a passed ball by catcher Charlie Welch allowed Kasevch and Ellison to move up 90 feet. They would come in to score on a Dasan Brown double to left-center to make it 4-0 Vancouver.
Dallas pitched a clean second inning with swinging strikeouts of Parker and Welch and Martinez returned the favour with De Jesus missing a home run that to right-center field as his long fly ball was caught by Clase on the warning track in front of the manual scoreboard.
In the bottom of the third, Dallas walked Windish and yielded a single to right by Alberto Rodriguez but Everett was kept off the board when Locklear hit into a 6-4-3 double play.
The C’s could only muster a Michael Turconi one-out single to right and two-out stolen base in the third inning. Dallas and Martinez both settled down with 1-2-3 frames to bring the game to the bottom of the fifth. The inning started with Dallas getting Welch looking at strike three and Erik Stock lined out to the warning track in center for the second out. Dallas was one strike away from getting out of the inning and qualilfying for the win but Clase banged a double off the left field wall on a 1-2 pitch. Clase would steal third before two-out walks to Windish and Rodriguez loaded the bases. A walk to Locklear scored Clase and ended the night for Dallas. Justin Kelly took over on the mound and gave up an 0-2 double off the left field wall to Ramirez to clear the bases and tie the game at 4-4. A broken-bat grounder by Sanchez to second finally ended the inning.
Vancouver would push ahead in the top of the sixth against Jimmy Kingsbury. A one-out infield single was credited to Gabby Martinez as he beat out a grounder deep to short with Sanchez’s throw forcing Locklear to jump off the first base bag. Kasevich grounded an opposite-field single to right. Kingsbury threw a wild pitch to advance the two runners in scoring position before Turconi’s sacrifice fly to left near the foul line allowed Martinez to score. Karl Ellison kept the inning going with an infield single to short that handcuffed Sanchez but Machado grounded out to the six-spot as Sanchez charged in on the chopper to make the throw in time to first to leave runners at the corners.
Lefthander Cooper Benson took over for Kelly in the bottom of the sixth and loaded the bases on a walk to Parker and base hits by Welsh and Stock. Compounding matters was De Jesus dropping a foul pop-up by Walsh near the third base line after the Parker walk as there appeared to be some miscommunication between Benson and De Jesus. Stock was credited with an infield single as De Jesus’ throw to first forced Nuñez to come off the bag. In hindsight, De Jesus could have turned back toward the third base bag to force out Parker. Back-to-back walks by Clase and Windish scored Parker and Welsh to allow Everett to take the lead at 6-5. Rodriguez flew out to left that was too shallow for Stock to score on but Locklear got the job done instead with a sac fly on the warning track to center to make it 7-5. Mason Fluharty stranded the two runners he inherited by striking out Ramirez.
The Canadians bounced back in the top of the seventh against Luis Curvelo. A one-out opposite-field single to left by Roden came home when Nuñez connected for a two-run home run to center to tie the game at 7-7.
Fluharty kept the score at 7-all with a 1-2-3 seventh inning, striking out Parker and Welch swinging to send the game into the eighth. That’s when Vancouver regained the lead as Kasevich drew a leadoff walk against lefthander Jorge Benitez. An errant pickoff throw by Benitez that wound up near the C’s bullpen on the right field side allowed Kasevich to make it all the way to third. Turconi drew a walk and after an Ellison strikeout, a passed ball that glanced off the glove of Welch with Machida at the plate allowed Kasevich to cross the plate. Machado eventually struck out but a push bunt by Brown up the first base line appeared to bring in Turconi with an insurance run. Locklear fielded the ball and dove to make the tag on Brown who was originally ruled safe. Home plate umpire Caz Cousins and base ump Shin Koishizawa umpires overturned the call, keeping the score 8-7 Vancouver.
The AquaSox were poised to mount an eighth-inning rally when Stock beat out an infield single to first when he got to the bag just before Fluharty covering from the mound. Clase then pulled a single to left. Fluharty rebounded by striking out Windish looking and Rodriguez swinging before giving the ball to T.J. Brock, who struck out Locklear swinging with a three-pitch punchout to strand the potential tying and go-ahead runs.
Roden singled to right past a diving Parker at second to open the top of the ninth against Tim Elliott but he would not advance any further. The bottom of the ninth was uneventful for the C’s defence in a good way as Brock struck out Ramirez looking before getting Sanchez and Parker swinging to preserve Vancouver’s one-run win.
Adam Macko will have a homecoming as he faces Everett for the first time since being traded by Seattle to Toronto in the offseason in the Teoscar Hernánez/Erik Swanson deal. The first pitch is at 11:05 a.m.
Friday’s game is set for 7:05 p.m. and the weekend games are at 4:05 p.m. The C’s will be back home Tuesday to face the Eugene Emeralds.