VANCOUVER – The Everett AquaSox finally shook the monkey – errr, the Vancouver Canadians – off their back Monday night.
Behind the solid pitching of starter Travis Blackley and reliever Beau Hintz, and a rare home run from Jose Lopez, the AquaSox defeated the Canadians 2-1 Monday at Nat Bailey Stadium.
It was Everett’s first victory in 10 attempts against Vancouver this season.
With a .500 season out of reach for the Sox (35-38), Everett can still lay claim to second place in the West Division of the Northwest League if it can win it’s final two games. Vancouver (36-38) is currently a half game ahead of the AquaSox.
Everett jumped out to an early lead and was able to hold on for the win despite a late Vancouver rally.
Lopez led off the game with a solo home run down the right field line to give the AquaSox a 1-0 lead. It was the first Everett home run in Nat Bailey Stadium and just the second of the year for Lopez.
Once again, Everett received a strong outing from Blackley, its Australian export.
Blackley (6-1), an 18-year-old Aussie, finished his first professional season in fine form, pitching six shutout innings for his sixth victory of the year. Blackley allowed three hits and struck out seven, including his 90th of the season.
With the game’s outcome squarely in the mitt of the AquaSox bullpen, Vancouver threatened to extend Everett’s winless streak five games in a row.
With the tying run on third base and one out, Everett’s Hintz proved unflappable.
Hintz, a former starter, came back to strike out the next two batters and preserve the Everett lead. Hintz went the final two innings to record his first save of the year.
The AquaSox extended their lead to 2-0 in the top of the second inning with two outs.
Blake Woods reached first on a fielder’s choice, then stole second and third. Woods scored when Vancouver pitcher Freddy DePaula’s throw to third base glanced off the third baseman’s glove for an error. That run proved to be the difference in a very close game.
Everett had a runner on third base twice with only one out, but were sent to the dugout empty-handed thanks to a pair of double plays. Vancouver turned three double plays in the game.