Canadians' Pearson dazzles in Game 1 win

Blue Jays No. 8 prospect strikes out 10 in four scoreless innings

Nate Pearson allowed two runs and struck out 26 batters in 20 innings in the regular season. (Vancouver Canadians)

By Michael Leboff / | September 6, 2017 11:39 PM ET

Nate Pearson put on a show in his first professional playoff game. 

Toronto's No. 8 prospect recorded 10 strikeouts in four innings to lead Class A Short Season Vancouver to a 2-1 win over Spokane in Game 1 of the Northwest League semifinals.

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The first batter Pearson faced, Miguel Aparicio, reached on a fielding error by first baseman Kacy Clemens. The 21-year-old right-hander struck out the next three hitters he faced on nine pitches. 

"I can't say I have been a part of anything like that," Pearson said. "It wasn't the way we wanted to start off the game, but I was able to battle back and get the team back into the dugout."

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He notched three more strikeouts in the second to work around his own throwing error. It was more of the same in the third for the 2017 first-round pick, who worked around Aparicio's single and a walk to Matt Whatley by whiffing three more Spokane hitters. 

"I knew I had some strikeouts, but I was just focusing on beating every guy that was walking up. I was kind of in a groove at that point," the Florida native said.

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After getting two quick outs to start the fourth, Pearson issued three consecutive walks on 12 pitches to load the bases. The 6-foot-6 right-hander got the big pitch when he needed it and retired Aparicio on a groundout. 

"I was cruising and then I hit a wall. I was struggling to find the zone, but luckily, the fans were cheering me on. I was able to muscle through it and get out of it for them and for my teammates," Pearson added.

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The two teams traded zeros until the top of the eighth when Logan Warmoth ended the stalemate with a two-run homer. 

Aparicio put the Indians within one with an RBI single in the ninth, but William Ouellette halted the Spokane rally to give the Canadians the early series lead.

The two teams will meet again Thursday night for Game 2. First pitch is slated for 10:05 pm ET. 

"Everyone on our team has bought into our goal, which is to win the league. Now it's time to show we can do it and put it all together," Person added.

In other Northwest League playoff action:

Emeralds 3, Hops 2

First baseman Gustavo Polanco drove in the go-ahead run on a single in the eighth inning and left fielder Zach Davis added an RBI in Eugene's playoff opener. The two teams will meet for Game 2 of the best-of-3 set on Thursday. Box score

Michael Leboff is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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