(Gesa Stadium - Pasco, WA) - A sacrifice fly off the bat of CF Brandon Polizzi in the top of the 10th inning scored PR Tanner Kirwer proved to be Wednesday night's game-winning run as Vancouver salvaged the finale of a three-game series in Pasco, Washington as the C's topped the Dust Devils 2-1 to keep their slim first-half pennant hopes alive.
LHP Elio Silva had another quality start for the Canadians going five innings allowing just three hits and a lone, unearned run in the bottom of the 2nd inning. Tri-City DH Luis Asuncion hit his 11th double of the season with one out and advanced to third base on a throwing error from 3B Jesus Severino who tried to throw out C Blake Hunt but short-hopped Canadians 1B Jake Brodt putting runners on the corners. Catcher Chandler Seagle hit a sacrifice fly to center scoring Asuncion giving the Dust Devils an early 1-0 lead.
From there, the Canadians pitching took center stage going eight scoreless innings as LHP Nick Allgeyer (2.0IP), RHP Cobi Johnson (2.0IP) and LHP Marcus Reyes (1.0IP) followed LHP Elio Silva's lead allowing just two hits to keep Tri-City in limbo.
It wasn't until the top of the 7th inning that the Canadians offense caught a pair of breaks as 2B Nick Podkul hit a routine fly ball to right field but OF Tre Carter lost it in the dimming night sky and 2B Olivier Basabe had it drop just beyond his reaching glove. By the time it was picked up and thrown out toward second base, Podkul had hustled and slid in safely to give the Canadians a runner in scoring position with nobody out. The next batter, 3B Jesus Severino hit a sharp, skipping liner out toward Tri-City SS Owen Miller, but the ball took a wicked hop on the hard infield dirt allowing the ball to get past the sure-handed shortstop cashing in Podkul to even the game at 1-1.
Tri-City had a glorious chance to sweep the three-game series in the bottom of the 9th inning as SS Owen Miller hit a triple off Canadians reliever RHP Cobi Johnson, but the right-hander buckled down and got 2B Olivier Basabe to fly out to shallow center field, struck out C Blake Hunt and got DH Luis Asuncion to fly out to RF Griffin Conine to send the game to extras.
In the top of the 10th, the Canadians started the inning with a runner at second base and manager Dallas McPherson opted to have PR Tanner Kirwer run the bases as opposed to 1B Jake Brodt who was the final out from the previous inning. Kirwer was immediately advanced to third base on a sac bunt from 3B Sterling Guzman and later scored on a sac fly from CF Brandon Polizzi.
LHP Marcus Reyes came in and struck out the side in the bottom of the 10th to pull out a victory to wrap-up Vancouver's eight-game road trip. The Canadians finished 3-5 (.375) after the 2-1 victory in ten innings out at Gesa Stadium.
What does it all mean? The Canadians head home to Scotiabank Field tied for second in the North Division alongside Tri-City with matching 16-17 records, a lone game back of Everett (17-16) for the overall division lead. Spokane is three games back with five to play.
The good news? Vancouver will play Hillsboro (22-11, .667) at Scotiabank Field at Nat Bailey Stadium as opposed to on the road where the C's are 8-11 (.421).
The bad news? Vancouver doesn't hold a tiebreaker against either Everett or Tri-City meaning the Canadians have to win the North Division outright and are about to face a Hops team that has the best overall record in the Northwest League AND is only three games up on Boise with five to play meaning this series is of equal importance to the Hops.
Northwest League Overview:
Everett (17-16) travels ten hours into Boise to face the Hawks (19-14) at 6:15pm
Tri-City (16-17) remains home to face Eugene who (11-22) is 11 games out in the South at 7:15pm
Spokane (14-19) heads to Salem-Keizer (17-16). The Indians are 2-12 on the road this season.
Vancouver (16-17) hosts Hillsboro (22-11). The Hops swept five-game series at Vancouver in 2017.
Vancouver must win one more game then Tri-City over the next five games, and…
Vancouver must win two more games then Everett over the next five games, to win the North.
The Canadians will send RHP Joey Murray (0-0, 0.00) to the mound followed by RHP Sean Wymer (1-2, 5.11) in the series opener vs. Hillsboro set for Thursday, July 19th at 7:05pm. The Vancouver Canadians announced on Monday that the first four games of this series were SOLD OUT with tickets remaining to Monday, July 23rd's 7:05pm finale still on-sale. Based on the current standings, that might end up becoming one of the hottest tickets in town.
Tickets to Vancouver Canadians Baseball can be purchased by calling 604.872.5232, online at www.canadiansbaseball.com or by visiting the Nat Bailey Stadium Box Office at 4601 Ontario Street, Vancouver, B.C.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.