The Vancouver Canadians lost to the Hillsboro Hops 4-3 at Ron Tonkin Field on Thursday.
Devonte Brown pulled a single to left field on the second pitch of the game from Hillsboro starter Dylan Ray. Brown stole second base and went to third on a Rainer Nuñez fly out to center but Ray recorded a pair of strikeouts, whiffing Gabby Martinez for the third out.
C’s starter Adam Macko did Ray one better in the strikeout department by striking out the side, sitting down Wilderd Patiño, S.P. Chen and Ivan Melendez in the first before retiring Jesus Valdez and Garry Mattis on Ks to finish a three-up, three down second.
Ray got through the second in order before giving up a Garrett Spain single to second that Chen could only make a diving stop on. Spain was picked off by Ray to effectively end that rally.
The first baserunner to reach against Macko was Jarrod Watkins who was hit by a 3-2 pitch on the right elbow to start the bottom of the third. Ramses Malave hit into a 5-4-3 double play and Channy Ortiz struck out swinging to send Hillsboro away empty-handed.
Gabby Martinez had a two-out single to left in the top of the fourth but Ray whiffed Alex De Jesus for his second strikeout of the inning.
Macko issued a pair of one-out walks to Chen and Melendez in the bottom of the fourth but got J.J. D’Orazio to foul out to first before getting Valdez on an unassisted fielder’s choice at third to force out Chen.
Vancouver got the first run of the game when Dasan Brown reached on an infield single to short off Ray. The Oakville, Ontario native stole second and went to third on a Josh Kasevich groundout to first. A sacrifice fly to right by Spain allowed Brown to tag up and score.
Hillsboro solved Macko by loading the bases with nobody out in the fifth. A leadoff walk to Mattis, a bunt single by Watkins and a base hit to center by Malave led to an Ortiz grounder too short to scorie Mattis with the tying run. A Patiño grounder to third allowed Watkins to score the go-ahead run.
The Canadians used three straight hits to tie the game and knock Ray out of the game. Devonte Brown singled to center, Cade Doughty singled to left and Rainer Nuñez reached on an infield single to bring home Brown. Gerald Ogando put out the fire by retiring Martinez on a 5-3 double play and De Jesus grounded out to third to leave Nuñez at second.
The Hops regained the lead against C’s reliever Eric Pardinho in the sixth. The trouble started when Pardinho plunked Melendez to start the inning. Though Melendez was forced out on D’Orazio’s 6-4 fielder’s choice, Valdez hit a two-run home run to left-center field to put Hillsboro ahead 4-2. Pardinho struck out Mattis and rang up Watkins to end the frame.
The top of the seventh also began with a hit batsman as Dasan Brown was drilled in the left arm by Ogando and Brown would go to second on an errant pickoff throw. A Kasevich grounder to second moved Brown to third. Spain then delivered a base hit to center to score Brown.
Lefthander Cooper Benson had to deal with a runner in scoring position in the bottom of the seventh when Malave singled to left and was moved to second on an Ortiz sacrifice bunt to the mound. A two-out single to short by Chen put Malave at third but a strikeout of Patiño and a Melendez fly out to left kept it a one-run game.
The top of the eighth saw two ejections on the Hops coaching staff. Nuñez was “allegedly” hit by a pitch with one out. Replays on MiLB.TV did not show the ball noticeably changing direction near Nuñez’s forearm. When Nuñez took his base, Hops pitching coach Gabriel Hernández and manager Ronnie Gajowski were tossed by home plate umpire Garrett Griffin. The inning ended two pitches later when Martinez hit into 6-4-3 twin-killing to force out pinch-runner Alan Roden at second.
Lefty Mason Fluharty posted a perfect bottom of the eighth for Vancouver, striking out Mattis swinging for the third out but Eli Saul also had a 1-2-3 inning in the ninth to close it out for Hillsboro, ending the game by striking out Kasevich swinging.
Kasevich made his return to the lineup after slipping on a wet first base bag on an infield single during Sunday’s game.
Thursday’s press notes from C’s broadcaster Tyler Zickel indicated that Devonte Brown was the third player to drive in six runs since the C’s became the High-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. Addison Barger had a six-RBI game at Eugene on May 14 of last year while Phil Clarke knocked home eight against Spokane on September 9, 2021.
Also, the Canadians have a losing record on Thursdays by dropping to 1-3. That’s the only day of the week they have been below .500.
The Canadians and Hops play again Friday. Lefthander Trenton Wallace gets the ball for Vancouver in a 6:35 p.m. start. The game is on CanadiansBaseball.com and MiLB.TV.