Doubleheader Sweep Furthers Playoff Aspirations
SPOKANE, WA – In the biggest series of the season and perhaps the most crucial regular season set since the 2017 championship run, the Canadians made it three straight wins over the Spokane Indians (Rockies) with a doubleheader sweep Wednesday night at Avista Stadium. Game one of the twin bill
SPOKANE, WA – In the biggest series of the season and perhaps the most crucial regular season set since the 2017 championship run, the Canadians made it three straight wins over the Spokane Indians (Rockies) with a doubleheader sweep Wednesday night at Avista Stadium.
Game one of the twin bill began much like the series opener on Tuesday: with two C’s runs in the top of the first. This time, a lead-off walk for Dasan Brown and a one-out double off the bat of Rainer Nunez set the table for an RBI ground out for Gabby Martinez before Alex De Jesus doubled home Nunez to make it 2-0.
Spokane tied it with two runs in the bottom of the second after the first four batters of the inning combined for three hits and a sacrifice fly, but starter Michael Dominguez went on to retire nine of the last twelve batters he faced and would have completed the fifth save for a two-out error that prolonged the inning to bounce him from the game. He finished with four hits, two runs, one walk and matched a season high with seven Ks.
Vancouver took the lead for good when Miguel Hiraldo clubbed his ninth home run of the season in the fourth then put the game out of reach with three in the fifth. The first three batters of that inning reached before a force out at the plate kept the bases loaded. Martinez delivered an infield single to plate the first run, De Jesus followed with a sacrifice fly and Hiraldo singled home another run to put the Canadians in front 6-2.
The Indians started the sixth with a double and a homer to cut the lead to two then brought the tying run to the plate when the third batter of the inning singled, but newcomer Devereaux Harrison (W, 1-0) – a ninth round pick out of Long Beach State this year – induced a double play ball from the next hitter then struck out the last man of the inning to earn his first professional win.
Connor Cooke (S, 7) moved into a tie for third on the league leaderboard in saves after retiring the side in order in the seventh to secure a 6-4 win.
In the second game, the C’s – playing as the home team to make up the July 3 game at The Nat that was rained out – scored an unearned run in the bottom of the first to take an early lead while starter Naswell Paulino retired the first six batters of his night. But Spokane used a lead-off walk in the third and a two-out throwing error to score two unearned runs, which gave them their first lead of the series.
Trailing 2-1, Vancouver responded immediately by tying the game in the home half of the third. With a man on and two outs, Andres Sosa – who had his 11-game hitting streak snapped in the first game but reached twice via walk – worked the count full then took ball four to bring Surrey, BC native Damiano Palmegiani to the plate. He attacked a 2-0 pitch and singled into left to plate a run and make it 2-2.
De Jesus – who homered yesterday – went deep again tonight, this time with one out in the fourth to put Vancouver ahead 3-2. His blast was followed by Hiraldo’s second bomb of the day and his tenth of the season, the third time the C’s have gone back-to-back this year.
A run in the top of the fifth helped the Indians pull within one, but Vancouver used a two-out single from Palmegiani and an RBI double from PK Morris – his first hit of the series – to retake a two-run lead. That score proved to be crucial; Spokane put the first batter of the top of the seventh on base with a pop up on the infield nobody caught (though was ruled a single because it went untouched) then moved that runner to second on a wild pitch while TJ Brock (S, 1) retired the next two batters. Down to their final out, the Indians got an RBI single from pinch hitter Robby Martin Jr., replaced him with a pinch runner then threatened to tie the game when Yorvis Torrealba lined a base hit into right field that Garrett Spain nearly caught on a dive but instead played on a short hop, somehow snaring it in his mitt when any sort of miscue would have allowed the tying run to score.
With runners on the corners and two outs, Eddy Diaz – who delivered the go-ahead double earlier in the game – tried to check his swing on a pitch up and in. The ball went off his bat up the first base line, destined for foul ground with an obvious rightward spin. As the ball turned towards the chalk, it caromed off something on the baseline – whether it was a rock, a clod of dirt or a piece of divine intervention – and redirected back into fair territory, where Morris at first played the awkward spin deftly from his knees and crawled to the bag for the final out.
Between both games, the C’s tallied 14 hits over 13 innings at bat. Hiraldo carried the day with three hits – including two home runs – and was joined in a multi-hit effort by Palmegiani and De Jesus. The pitching staff allowed six earned runs in 14 innings of work.
With the win, Vancouver’s lead over Spokane in the overall standings – the deciding factor should the same team win both halves of the season – is 4.5 games with 10 left to play. First half champion Eugene (Giants) won tonight, so the C’s are still 1.5 games back of the Emeralds for the top spot in the Northwest League second half standings. The Canadians will face the Ems next week at The Nat in the final regular season series of the year.
Thursday night brings a chance for the C’s to secure a series win. #28 Blue Jays prospect Chad Dallas with square off with #24 Rockies prospect Chris McMahon at 6:35 p.m. Coverage is available on CanadiansBaseball.com and the Sportsnet Radio Network.