C's Triumph in Biggest Comeback of 2021
SPOKANE, WA - Trailing 7-0 after the first inning, the Vancouver Canadians mounted their largest comeback of the season Wednesday night to rally for a 10-9 win over the Spokane Indians (Rockies) in 11 innings at Avista Stadium.
There is no denying it: the C's have been playing their worst baseball of the season over the last month. With just 12 wins in their last 37 games entering tonight and a soul-crushing loss yesterday, the early deficit seemed insurmountable after CJ Van Eyk was roughed up for seven runs (four earned) on three hits, three walks - including two with the bases loaded - and a pair of throwing errors made it 7-0 Spokane as the game headed into the second inning.
But insurmountable it was not. Vancouver picked themselves up off the mat and answered with two runs in the second inning to start the comeback. With a runner at first and one out, Will Robertson doubled home the first Canadians run before Rafael Lantigua singled to right where a bobble by the right fielder brought home Robertson to make it 7-2.
After a scoreless third, Lantigua stepped to the dish again in the fourth. An error and Robertson's second double in as many at-bats set the table for the Puerto Plata, DR native's fifth home run of the season, an opposite field three-run blast that cut the Indians lead to two.
Single runs in the sixth and seventh tied the game. Robertson's third double of the night - the first C's hitter to do so this year - put him in scoring position before a wild pitch moved him to third. Lantigua came up again with a chance to cash in and made good; a line drive single into the hole at shortstop brought home Robertson to make it a one-run game. A Luis De Los Santos double and a Tanner Morris RBI single tied the game at seven in the seventh.
Despite his nightmarish first, Van Eyk turned in a gritty performance by making it into the fifth inning without allowing another score. Between the second stanza and his last pitch, the Tampa, FL native didn't allow another run, surrendered one more hit, a single walk and K'd five to keep Spokane off the scoreboard.
The Tribe finally broke through for two runs in the bottom of the seventh to retake the lead, but the Canadians responded right away in the eighth. Ryan Gold was hit by a pitch to start the inning before Robertson launched his first home run of the year to tie the game 9-9 and give the former Creighton star a team-high ten total bases, four runs scored and three RBI in his first four at-bats in what was the finest offensive showing by a C's batter this season.
Vancouver and Spokane stayed locked in a 9-9 tie until the top of the eleventh. After Justin Maese (W, 1-0) and the C's defense managed to strand the would-be winning run at third in the bottom of the tenth, Zac Cook moved the placed runner to third with a fly ball to deep right and DJ Neal plated him with a sacrifice fly that made it 10-9 and gave the Canadians their first lead of the night.
Cobi Johnson (S, 1) set down the side in order in the bottom of the eleventh by striking out the first two hitters before High-A West home run and RBI leader Michael Toglia grounded out to end the game and give the C's a 10-9 win to move them back into a tie for third place.
By erasing the seven-run deficit, Vancouver put on its largest rally of the year. They had never come back when trailing by three or more before tonight. All nine hitters reached base in some way, seven had a hit, five scored a run and four plated an RBI. Robertson led the way with a four-for-five showing, Lantigua had three hits and Morris collected a pair of knocks.
MLB.com's #8 Blue Jays prospect Adam Kloffenstein gets the ball for the Canadians in game three tomorrow night and will be opposed by Spokane's Breiling Eusebio. Coverage begins at 6:15 p.m. with the Vancouver Canadians Pregame Show, powered by North Beach Agency, and first pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on the Sportsnet Radio Network. Individual tickets, 12-game plans and season tickets for home games in Hillsboro are available now at CanadiansBaseball.com.
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