The Columbia River has calmed down after a wild day at the boat races. Congratulations to Dave Villwock on yet another Columbia Cup title.
The temperature is starting to come down, and now it's time to relax with some twilight baseball.
I overheard the Vancouver radio man Rob Fai going a little stir crazy yesterday after four days of hamburgers, so today I surprised him with some Hacienda del Sol tacos. Actually, just one — the other two were for me. But it made him very happy to eat something a little outside the box in terms of baseball food.
Rob was pretty entertaining to listen to during yesterday's 7-0 loss. He was running out of positive things to say about the Canadians, so he was talking about anything but baseball there for a while. At one point, he was asking a Canadians fan who had made the trip from Vancouver for a beer. He didn't get it.
And the game got so bad for the Canadians that he came over and tried to convince me to use the words "donkey-punched" in my story. Another suggestion from Rob was "the Canadians see the light as well as Ray Charles", or something to that effect. I told him any time I could use a Ray Charles reference in a story would be awesome.
Dust Devils pitching coach Dave Burba just got dragged out of the dugout to take part in the chip-shot challenge, a between-innings promotion where contestants will try to chip a golf ball closest to the pin from about 30 feet. Today, Burba, an avid golfer, was going up against a young girl who sent her attempt about 20 yards past the target.
Burba, being the good sport he is, strategically aimed wide left and sent it along the dirt behind the backstop, allowing the girl to win. Atta boy, Dave.
Dust Devils take a 2-0 lead in the third inning on three leadoff singles and some help from the Vancouver defense.
Jayson Langfels led off with a single between third and short. Jaron Shepherd followed with a bunt up the first base line, which was fielded by first baseman Kevin Patterson. But second baseman Jon Berti was late to cover first, and Shepherd beat the throw. Berti then mishandled the throw, sending Langfels to third.
Brian Humphries then drove in Langfels with an RBI single to left. The next batter, No. 2 hitter Tim Smalling, hit a double-play grounder to Shane Opitz at short. Berti got the force at second but bounced the throw past first base for another error, sending Shepherd home for a 2-0 lead.
Tri-City starter Tyler Gagnon is one of those rare guys who still wears the stirrup-style socks. Maybe he's a purist. Now I'm noticing that Humphries, the center fielder has them also. Not a bad look at all.
Heath Harshman, the Dust Devils media relations coordinator, gave me an interesting tidbit just now.
The baseball buddies promotion — where kids get to run out onto the field with each player during pregame introductions — featured 10 entire teams running out onto the field with the players. It was a record 150 kids out on the field, and it was very well organized.
Anyway, one of the coaches for the team out of Central Oregon was Alan Embree, a former major league pitcher who spent 16 years in the bigs with 10 different teams. His career mirrored that of Burba, who pitched 16 seasons for six teams. Even though they never played on the same team, Heath said Embree asked for a few moments with Burba before the game, and they had a nice visit.
I guess it's just that brotherhood of major league pitchers that bonds them. It's a pretty special club to be a part of.
Courtesy of Tri-City radio man Jason Schwartz, I've learned that the Canadians have a few interesting football-related notes. Jones' uncle is former Heisman Trophy winner (1991) and Super Bowl MVP (1996) Desmond Howard. You can see the athleticism runs in the family, as Jones leads the team with 23 runs, 51 hits and 13 doubles.
Also, C's shortstop Shane Opitz was a pretty talented wide receiver at Heritage High School in Littleton, Colo. He led the Eagles to the 2009 5A state championship and set a Colorado state record with 22 receiving touchdowns that year.
Tri-City still cruising after eight innings, and it looks like — barring trouble in the ninth — the Dust Devils will earn their second consecutive shutout and third in four games against Vancouver.
Tri-City added two more runs in the fifth inning after a leadoff walk by Langfels, who went to third on a single by Shepherd. Vancouver center fielder Jones tried to throw out Langfels at third, and Shepherd took second on the throw. Humphries hit an RBI groundout to first base, scoring Langfels. Smalling moved Shepherd to third, and Juan Crousset hit an RBI single to left center to make it 4-0.
And the Dust Devils close it out 4-0. Ken Roberts tosses three scoreless innings in relief after Gagnon's six shutout frames and Tri-City keeps rolling. Making it look a little too easy, actually.
It's rare enough to see three shutouts in a season, much less during a five game series. But there it is, the Dust Devils take 4-of-5 from the Canadians, holding them to just 13 runs over the entire series. And nine of those came in one game.