Vinicio Walks-Off Royals to Spoil Brilliant Performance From Custodio
TORONTO -- Revenge.
The Toronto Maple Leafs walked off the Guelph Royals 4-3 on Sunday afternoon, less than 24 hours after the Royals walked off the Leafs on Saturday night.
With the win, the Maple Leafs go to 12-9 and have their three-game losing streak snapped.
The Royals, meanwhile, drop to 13-8 and have their seven-game winning streak snapped.
Toronto starting pitcher Dylan Jacober grinded through five innings, allowing two earned runs on five hits and six walks while striking out four Guelph batters.
Maple Leafs reliever Chris Nagorski picked up his third win of the season after tossing a scoreless top of the ninth inning.
Toronto shortstop Jose Vinicio had a game to remember, going two-for-four with a walk and two stolen bases, highlighted by his walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth inning to score right fielder Greg Carrington from second base.
Guelph starter Claudio Custodio took a no-decision after pitching eight incredible innings.
The former IBL champion with the Barrie Baycats allowed three earned runs on seven hits and four walks while striking out a breathtaking 18 batters.
Royals reliever Brandon Deans took the loss after allowing one earned run on one hit and one walk in the bottom of the ninth inning.
GUELPH - 3-6-2
TORONTO - 4-8-0
BIGGEST PLAY OF THE GAME: After Carrington reached base on a lead-off walk, Maple Leafs centre fielder Connor Lewis bunted him over to second base, which allowed Vinicio to bring him home on a first-pitch single to centre field.
DID YOU SEE THAT? In the bottom of the first inning, Vinicio scored from second to give the home side a 1-0 lead after Royals shortstop Kyle Kush tried to throw him out in a rundown, only to airmail his throw to third base.
There is no question Vinicio's speed can cause havoc on the base paths.
BY THE NUMBERS...
0. An 0-4 day at the plate for Royals catcher Kyle DeGrace, who made his Royals and season debut on the day. Regardless of his stat line, the league is always in a better place with competitors like DeGrace in it.
2. Two massive innings of relief from reliever Ryan Wells in his Christie Pits debut. The Georgia Highlands reliever threw two perfect innings on the afternoon, coming in the sixth and seventh innings.
2. A pair of massive strikeouts from reliever Adam Marra in the eighth inning, stranding the bases loaded for the Royals, who at one point in the inning had the bases loaded and no one out.
3. The third walk-off of the season for the Leafs, with two of them now coming against the Royals.
9. Nine walks allowed by the Leafs pitching staff, one day after allowing eight. Control has been a strength of the pitching staff all season long but was anything but this weekend.
144. Custodio threw 144 pitches on the day, which comes as no surprise when you look at his strikeout total.
INSIDE THE LOCKER ROOM...
Vinicio on his walk-off hit, through Domingo, the team's now unofficial translator: "I got what I was looking for when I got up to hit. I want to hit in that spot. I want to win the ball game."
Maple Leafs manager Damon Topolie on facing Custodio: "It's tough. He's the best pitcher in the league. He showed it today, so all we could do was grind out at-bats and try to push runs across."
Vinicio on Claudio: "He's a competitive pitcher. He has good stuff and a great breaking ball. But we stuck with it as a team and won the ball game."
Topolie on the team bouncing back after a tough loss on Saturday: "We had a tough week. This is a really good ball club -- Guelph is really good. We just had to compete and the guys did that."
Topolie on the pitching staff: "The entire pitching staff did an incredible job. Adam came in and cleaned up a little bit of a mess and that is all you can ask for from your bullpen. They came in and did their job today."
The Leafs are off until Wednesday when they host the Kitchener Panthers.
The first pitch is set for 7:30 pm.
Photo: Craig Aikin