While Eugene pounded out 14 hits – three more than their opponents Thursday – the Emeralds scored five fewer runs and left 12 total runners on base while committing three errors. To top it off, both manger Doug Dascenzo and starting pitcher Matt Buschmann were ejected during a fourth inning fiasco.
Put it all together and the final result was an ugly 10-5 loss to the visiting Vancouver Canadians.
“I mean, hey, baseball’s crazy,” a calm Dascenzo said following the game.
Indeed it was on this night, and it started in the fourth inning with the Emeralds trailing 2-1.
Buschmann hit the leadoff batter and gave up a double to Wilber Perez, an RBI single to Michael Affronti, and a sacrifice fly to Lorenzo Macias before Ramiro Mendez blasted a two-run homerun to push Vancouver’s lead to 6-1.
The very next pitch to batter Gustavo Rosendo instigated the ejections. Buschmann threw high and inside to Rosendo prompting home-plate umpire Ben Robinson to immediately eject Buschmann without warning.
Buschmann said he was not intentionally trying to hit Rosendo, and was surprised by the quick ejection, though he did say his emotions may have gotten the best of him after Mendez began shouting in Spanish while rounding the bases following his homerun.
“I was upset at the moment. He (Mendez) was yelling, and I thought he could have waited until he got back to the dugout to make some comments,” Buschmann admitted. “But I think that pitch I made (to Rosendo) was more … to back guys off the plate. If I wanted to hit him, I would have hit him.
“I understand they are trying to protect the players, but baseball is baseball, you still have to make that kind of pitch.”
Catcher Matt Stocco supported his pitcher and was surprised by the sudden move to eject Buschmann.
“That was a poor judgment call by the umpire. He (Buschmann) lost a couple pitches. He already hit a guy early in the game, and he lost a couple pitches up. He lost it,” Stocco said of Buschmann’s pitch to Rosendo. “You’ve got to give the guy (Buschmann) a chance to collect himself (after the homerun).”
Following Buschmann’s ejection, Dascenzo called for reliever Jon Kirby and went to discuss the call with Robinson at home plate. During the discussion, Robinson told Dascenzo that he’d only give Kirby eight warm-up pitches instead of the unlimited amount usually offered to pitchers entering a game without work in the bullpen. In this case, Robinson believed it was up to his discretion how many pitches the new pitcher is allowed to have.
Dascenzo argued for nearly 10 minutes and even had Emeralds’ General Manger Bob Beban, who sits on the Major League Baseball Playing Rules Committee, enter the field with a rulebook and a telephone with Northwest League President Bob Richmond on the line. Robinson refused to take the call, however.
“You don’t really even need a rule book for that, to be honest with you. That’s common sense,” Dascenzo said. “You’ve got a kid sitting down there that’s 20-years-old and he’s sitting down there for two-and-a-half hours and he’s going to come in cold. You’ve got to let him warm up. Not only does the rule say it, good judgment should come into play there and it didn’t.”
When the game resumed, the Emeralds, down 6-1, mounted a modest comeback with three unanswered runs. They got one in the fourth when Michael Campbell led off with a single and scored on a double by Jesus Lopez on a ball that was mishandled by Larry Cobb in centerfield. But the inning ended with runners stranded on second and third.
In the fifth Eugene inched closer thanks to a two-run blast over the left-field fence by Craig Cooper.
But Vancouver extended its lead in the seventh against reliever Ernesto Frieri. Samuel Hernandez reached to lead off the inning after he was hit by a pitch and Greg Dowling singled before Alex Valdez hit an RBI double. Dowling later scored on a pass ball and Valdez scored on a sacrifice fly to make the score 9-4.
Mendez’s second homerun of the game in the eighth off of Rolando Valdez made the score 10-4.
Eugene plated its final run in the eighth when Stocco doubled and scored on an error when the right-fielder dropped a routine fly ball by Mike Epping.
The Emeralds offered one more push in the ninth when they loaded the bases with no outs, but they were unable to push anyone across when Vancouver reliever Anthony Rea worked himself out a jam by striking out the side to end the game.
Despite the ugly overall game, the Emeralds did start with the lead when the hot-hitting Chad Huffman tripled over the head of the centerfielder Cobb in the second and scored on a sacrifice fly by Michael Campbell to give Eugene a 1-0 lead.
But Vancouver responded with two runs in the second against Buschmann, and did not relinquish the lead.
Cooper led the Emeralds attack with a 3-for-5, two-RBI night. Kirby pitched effectively for the Emeralds, going 2.2 innings and giving up only one hit. Frieri, Valdez and Orlando Lara each worked one inning. Frieri gave up three runs on two hits and Valdez gave up one run on two hits while Lara fanned the side.
Vancouver starter Scott Deal picked up the win by pitching five innings, giving up eight hits and four runs. Mendez finished the night 2-for-4 with three runs scored, three RBIs and the two home runs.
The two teams meet again Thursday for the final game of the three-game series with Steve Faris (1-1, 4.79 ERA) likely making the start for Eugene.