“It’s just so frustrating really,” said Danny Payne of the Ems recent struggles. “When we pitch well--we can’t put the ball in play or when we hit we play poor defense. It is so frustrating to not be able to put all three things together.”
Back-to-back doubles by Lance Zawadzki and Robbie Blauer gave the Ems an early one run lead. Two walks later the bases were loaded and Brian Lauderdale hit an 0-2 fastball into left for a hit. Matt Sulentic misplayed the line drive and all three Ems came around to score. Andy Parrino capped the scoring with an RBI-double that scored Lauderdale and after one the Ems held a 5-0 advantage.
Despite allowing five runs, Vancouver starter Scott Hodson picked up the victory thanks to the late game offensive explosion of his teammates. Hodson’s record improved to 6-1 and to his credit settled down after the initial Eugene outburst. He allowed four earned runs in five innings, scattering six hits.
Corey Kluber gave the Ems a solid start allowing no runs and only two hits, while striking out nine in 4.1 innings. Chris Perez relieved and got out of a mini-jam in the fifth but in the sixth he encountered trouble. A hit squeezed between a leadoff walk and a hit batsman set the table for the bottom third of the Canadians order. They delivered in a large way as Julio Rivera, Dusty Napoleon and Shane Keough all followed with RBI singles. Napoleon’s and Keough’s both plated two runs and all of a sudden the game was knotted at five. Vancouver was not content with five runs, however, with Keough still at second Michael Richard hit a line drive to center that took a huge hop over the 5-foot-10 Payne’s head. As the ball rolled all way to the wall, Keough scored easily and Richard crossed home having hit the rare stand-up inside the park homerun. Vancouver brought twelve hitters to the plate and led 7-5 midway through six.
The Ems got one back in the sixth thanks to a two out double by Andy Parrino and a subsequent RBI-single by Yefri Carvajal. The Ems looked poised to rally, but relievers Matt Huff and Matt Handley worked themselves into jams. Two walks and another hit batsman loaded the bases with one out for the Canadians. Richard knocked a single into right to score one run and the bases were still loaded with just one out. The next batter Sulentic doubled to right scoring Keough and J.D. Pruitt to put Canadians ahead 10-6. Danny Hamblin followed suit with a double of his own, this one to dead center and two more runs came home. Things got even worse for the Ems as two consecutive wild pitches allowed Hamblin to come across and at this point the game had gotten away from the Ems as they now trailed 13-6.
Chris Perez took the loss for the Ems, as the bullpen wasted a good outing from Kluber. Perez pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up six runs on five hits. The rest of the bullpen was not much better as Perez, Handley, Huff, and Robert Woodard combined to surrender 13 runs in 4.2 innings. Aeden McQueary (regularly a catcher) pitched a scoreless ninth.
“Hopefully some of these crazy bounces and breaks will go our way soon because they sure haven’t been lately,” said Payne summing up the evening and the recent stretch the Ems have endured.