(Avista Stadium - Spokane, WA) - After walking into the final week of the regular season with a two-game lead in the North Division, the Vancouver Canadians hit a rough patch at the worst possible time resulting in four straight losses including Sunday's 3-1 defeat that helped the Spokane Indians leap over the C's to claim the second-half pennant out at Avista Stadium. The loss ends the Canadians reign as the defending Northwest League Champions.
Vancouver faced their second Major League rehab assignment in less than a week as after facing Seattle Mariners RHP Hisashi Iwakuma on Friday, the Canadians took on Alex 'Chi Chi' Gonzalez who pitched five perfect innings retiring all 15 C's hitters he faced before handing the ball to a trio of Indians arms that took it the rest of the way.
Canadians starter LHP Elio Silva went five innings scattering six hits including a pair of hits that set up the games first two runs in the bottom of the 4th inning. After both 3B Diosbel Arias (single) and DH Shertan Apostal (single) reached base, LF Tanner Gardner hit a single that cashed in Arias opening up the scoring. Apostal came into score on a tough play for Vancouver C Yorman Rodriguez as a line drive out toward SS Jesus Severino was snagged with the designated hitter coming home from third base. Severino's throw was on the mark as Rodriguez received the baseball, but Apostal's cleat loosened the ball from the catcher's glove popping it out allowing the run to count extending the Indians lead to 2-0.
Spokane C Isaias Quiroz slammed his 3rd home run of the season over the left field fence to lead off the bottom of the 5th inning as LHP Elio Silva would get the next three hitters in order but left the game after five innings with the Canadians down 3-0.
Vancouver's lone offensive threat came in the top of the 7th inning when RHP Wes Robertson came in and allowed a one-out single to LF Tanner Kirwer who later scored on a base hit to right field from C Yorman Rodriguez cutting the lead to 3-1. With Vancouver RF Griffin Conine at third base (walk) and Rodriguez on at first base, DH Chris Bec would stop the rally in its tracks with an inning ending 4-6-3 double play that sent the game to the bottom of the 7th inning with the Indians up by two.
Vancouver could muster little offense up after the 7th as they were retired in order in the 8th and fell victim to Spokane closer RHP Emmanuel Clase to got C's RF Griffin Conine to ground out to 1B Curtis Terry for the game's final out at the Indians rushed the field having won their fourth straight game while handing the Canadians a fourth straight defeat. The four game swing in which the Canadians led the North Division by two games heading into Thursday night's game is one of the biggest turnarounds in Northwest League history. Vancouver heads into Monday's regular season finale two games back with just one game to play.
Vancouver has announced RHP Sean Wymer as it's Monday starter which is now subject to change while the Indians have reserved to announce its pitcher in advance of their game set for 6:30pm out at Avista Stadium.
The Vancouver Canadians Baseball organization wishes to thank each and every one of its players and staff as well as the Toronto Blue Jays organization for a wonderful season and wish the Spokane Indians all the best in the 2018 Northwest League Playoffs.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.