The Vancouver Canadians (17-13) whittled away late at an early four-run Tri-City Dust Devils (16-17) lead, but the home team held firm and hung on for a 4-3 win Tuesday night at Gesa Stadium.
The Dust Devils got on the board in the bottom of the 1st inning when 2B Adrian Placencia crushed a homer over the right field fence for a 1-0 lead. The longball, coming off Canadians starter Michael Dominguez (1-2), was both Placencia’s second of the season and the second in as many games. Hit from the left side, the Dominican Republic native now has a home run for both sides of the plate in 2023.
Tri-City added three runs in the bottom of the 3rd. CF D’Shawn Knowles drew a leadoff walk, and the top of the order came back around with one out after Knowles had swiped second base and moved to third on a groundout. DH Werner Blakely then came up and lined a single to center, scoring Knowles easily to double the Dust Devil lead to 2-0.
Placencia then drew a walk, bringing up SS Arol Vera. The switch-hitting Venezuelan came through again, singling to left center to score Blakely and move Placencia to third. 1B Gabe Matthews followed with a sacrifice fly to left to score Placencia and make it a 4-0 Tri-City lead through three innings. From there the Dust Devils offense was held at bay, with only one runner reaching base on a play that did not involve an out (C Myles Emmerson’s 5th inning walk).
While the Dust Devils offense was scoring early, starter Jose Salvador held Vancouver’s offense in check, throwing four scoreless innings and giving up only two hits. The start, with a pitch count and taken on short notice, marked a turnaround for the Dominican lefty, who was roughed up by the Canadians in his only other start of 2023 on April 13 in Vancouver.
Salvador handed the baton to Jake Smith (2-0), who got into a bases loaded jam in the 5th inning but got back-to-back strikeouts to work his way out of it. Southpaw Houston Harding then took over for the 6th, making his 2023 debut by striking out two in a scoreless frame.
Vancouver broke the shutout in the 7th, cutting the Tri-City lead in half to 4-2 via a bases loaded walk and an error. The visitors halved the lead again in the 8th on a solo home run by C Jommer Hernandez, getting within 4-3.
Tri-City closer Kelvin Caceres came in for the 9th and gave up a one-out walk to Canadians 2B Cade Doughty….