SPOKANE, WA – The Canadians began a crucial eight-game series with the Spokane Indians (Rockies) with a pair of wins to take both ends of a doubleheader at Avista Stadium on Tuesday, first a 5-4 nailbiter then a 6-4 comeback effort as the home team that vaulted the C’s back
SPOKANE, WA – The Canadians began a crucial eight-game series with the Spokane Indians (Rockies) with a pair of wins to take both ends of a doubleheader at Avista Stadium on Tuesday, first a 5-4 nailbiter then a 6-4 comeback effort as the home team that vaulted the C’s back into a share of first place in the Northwest League.
GAME 1 – Canadians 5, Indians 4
Vancouver jumped out to an early lead with two runs in the top of the first. Alan Roden singled to start the game before 2022 C’s Co-MVP Andres Sosa – who was activated from the Injured List to make his season debut today – hit the first pitch he saw this season into the short porch in right field for a two-run homer.
Staked to a 2-0 lead before even throwing a pitch, Canadians starter Michael Dominguez (W, 2-2) turned in one of his finest outings of the year. He went five innings for the second time, allowed one run in the fourth on a two-out base hit – one of five singles he scattered – walked two and struck out six to earn the win.
The offense used an error in the fifth to score two crucial insurance runs. Rainer Nunez doubled to begin the inning then #2 Rockies prospect Adael Amador bobbled a Cade Doughty grounder to put two aboard with nobody out. The next two batters were retired before Josh Kasevich worked a big two-out walk to load the bases for Garrett Spain, who singled home a pair to make it 4-1 C’s.
Doughty didn’t need help from the Spokane defense in the sixth. After a one-out walk put Sosa on base and Nunez lined out sharply to left, the Denham Springs, LA native socked a 2-2 pitch to left centerfield for an RBI double that proved to be the crucial stroke; Vancouver survived a furious Spokane comeback in the bottom of the inning that saw them score three runs on two homers between the first three hitters of the frame.
With the tying run on base and two outs, TJ Brock (S, 3) came on and got the final four outs of the game to secure a 5-4 win.
Spain paced the offense with a season-high three hits and finished a homer shy of the cycle. Roden reached four times with a single and three walks while Sosa, Nunez and Kasevich all found their way aboard twice.
GAME 2 – Canadians 6, Indians 4
The C’s took the field as the home team for the second game in a make-up of the rainout at The Nat on April 7. In a twist of baseball fate, a guy who was a Dunedin Blue Jay on that date made the start for Vancouver.
Right-hander Kevin Miranda climbed the slope for his High-A debut and was solid over four scoreless innings in which he pitched to contact – one walk, one strikeout and four hits – while navigating traffic on the bases with aplomb. He was backed in the bottom of the second by a solo shot from Alex De Jesus, a blast that traveled over 400 feet for his team-best fourth of the year.
After Miranda’s departure, the Indians took advantage of two walks in the fifth to score both on consecutive two-out singles from #9 Rockies prospect Jordan Beck – the reigning Northwest League Player of the Week – and #10 Rockies prospect Yanquiel Fernandez – the league RBI leader – to jump in front 2-1, but the clutch hits that evaded the Canadians last week seemed to make the trip to the Lilac City.
It all began with a lead-off double from Michael Turconi to put the tying run on in the bottom of the fifth. After a flyout moved him to third and Spokane brought in a new pitcher, Roden tagged the first pitch to right field for a game-tying single. Dasan Brown followed with a base knock then Rainer Nunez scored them both with a double to dead centerfield to give the C’s a 4-2 lead.
Vancouver’s defense came through in a big way in the sixth. Zach Kokoska started the frame with a solo homer, which cut the Canadians advantage to one. Spokane proceeded to load the bases with one out before Matt Svanson (S, 1) came on with the lead on the line. After falling behind to his first hitter 3-1, the right-hander induced a sharp ground ball up the middle that was deftly gloved on one hop by the second baseman Turconi and perfectly fed to shortstop Josh Kasevich, who glided across the bag while unleashing a seed to first base that arrived JUST ahead of the batter to end the inning and preserve the one-score lead.
A Kasevich single and a walk by Jommer Hernandez in the home half of the stanza cued up a two-RBI double from Roden that turned out to be the game-winning hit; the Indians rallied for a run in the top of the seventh before Svanson struck out the potential tying score to end the game and complete the doubleheader sweep.
Eight of nine starters reached base and six had a hit. Brown reached three times while he, Roden – who has now found his way on base in a team-best 19 consecutive games – and Kasevich finished with two hits apiece. De Jesus was aboard twice.
With the win, the Canadians have now taken three in a row and are in a virtual tie for first place with Eugene. They send #9 Blue Jays prospect Adam Macko to the hill tomorrow night at 6:35 p.m. for game three of the series opposite Spokane’s Gabriel Hughes, the #5 Rockies prospect. Coverage is available on CanadiansBaseball.com and the Sportsnet Radio Network.