VANCOUVER, BC – There is no doubt: July has been the best month of the season for the Canadians. After a 2-4 start in the first six games, the C’s broke out for a franchise-best nine-game winning streak that carried through the All-Star Break. That success kept them in first
VANCOUVER, BC – There is no doubt: July has been the best month of the season for the Canadians. After a 2-4 start in the first six games, the C’s broke out for a franchise-best nine-game winning streak that carried through the All-Star Break. That success kept them in first place in the Northwest League second half standings for 19 days, their longest stretch at the top of the heap this year.
Riding high, Vancouver entered this week’s match-up with the Everett AquaSox (Mariners) and found much of their luck reversed after losing four of the first five games of the set to fall a half game back of the Eugene Emeralds (Giants). Needing a win Sunday to salvage the series, the Canadians got a career performance from Jimmy Robbins then a late offensive surge to beat the AquaSox 6-1 in front of a sellout crowd at Nat Bailey Stadium on an A&W Family Fun Sunday.
Robbins (W, 1-2) was in rhythm from the start. He struck out two in the first – the second after walking his only two hitters of the day with two outs – then two in the second, two more in the third, three in the fourth and another pair in the fifth to not only establish his longest outing of the year but to set a new single game high for a C’s pitcher with 11 strikeouts.
The southpaw’s efforts could have been for naught after the Frogs scored an unearned run in the sixth, though Justin Kelly (W, 4-2) did well to limit the damage in an inning that could have gotten out of hand. Vancouver’s bats – which had struggled to produce much of anything after going 1-for-30 with runners in scoring position in the first three games of the series – found their stroke in the home half of that inning.
Consecutive walks and a wild pitch set up a sacrifice fly from Leo Jimenez to advance both runners and tie the game. Damiano Palmegiani was hit by a pitch, Riley Tirotta beat out a would-be double play to bring home the go-ahead run and PK Morris delivered an RBI single later in the frame to make it 3-1 Vancouver.
Abdiel Mendoza (S, 1) took over in the top of the seventh and, after a lead-off walk, went on to retire the next eight hitters he faced while the offense scored two in the seventh on an error and a sacrifice fly and another in the eighth on a solo homer from Garrett Spain. Mendoza stranded a two-out single in the top of the ninth to lock down a 6-1 Canadians win and finish July 14-9, the first time they have ended a month with an above .500 record.
Robbins, Kelly and Mendoza combined to allow just three hits on three walks with 13 strikeouts in Vancouver’s best pitched game of the week. Morris and Harry Ray paced the lineup with two hits apiece while eight of nine starters reached base and six had a knock.
Despite the win, the C’s are still a half game back in the second half standings after Eugene beat the Hillsboro Hops (Diamondbacks) earlier this afternoon. They will travel south to PK Park in two weeks for the second of two series against the Giants affiliate over the stretch run of the season.
After an off day on Monday, the Canadians return to The Nat Tuesday night for the first of six games with the Tri-City Dust Devils (Angels). Right-hander Nick Frasso will lead-off for the Vancouver rotation opposite Dust Devils southpaw Jose Salvador. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. and coverage can be found on CanadiansBaseball.com, MiLB.TV and the Sportsnet Radio Network.