Since the Spokane Indians clinched the second-half division title on Sunday, the last game of the Northwest League regular season meant nothing to the final standings.
So Vancouver Canadians manager Dallas McPherson decided to have a little fun.
Brandon Polizzi, who split time this season between second base and the outfield for the Canadians and Low-A Lansing this season, played all nine positions on the field.
Polizzi wasn’t aware of his manager’s plan until his third position switch in the third inning.
“This was my skipper’s idea. I knew nothing about it,” Polizzi said. “It was a big surprise.”
Polizzi started at second, then moved to short and third in successive innings.
“We talked about it a little bit,” Vancouver manager Dallas McPherson said. “He’s been wanting to pitch. Honestly it was his teammates that talked me into having him play all nine positions.”
“When he sent me out to left (in the fourth), I knew something was going on.”
As for the action on the field, Vancouver’s Jesus Severino went 3 for 4 with two RBIs and the Canadians beat the Indians 7-4 at Avista Stadium.
Isaias Quiroz hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth for the Indians.
The Indians travel to Everett for Game 1 of the division series on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m.
There have been five Major Leaguers to play all nine positions in a game. The first was Bert Campaneris for the Kansas City Athletics on Sept. 8, 1965 and the latest was Andrew Romine for the Detroit Tigers on Oct. 1, 2017.
Polizzi started at first base in the seventh and with two outs made his way to the hill to face Indians catcher Scott Kapers.
Kapers swung at the first pitch and broke his bat on a popup to short left field, where shortstop Jesus Severino settled underneath of it for the final out of the inning.
“I pitched in high school. so I’ve done it before,” Polizzi said.
Polizzi and catcher Brett Wright did a jumping chest bump on their way off the field.
He caught in the bottom of the eighth, though he forgot a helmet under his catcher’s mask and normal starting catcher Chris Bec had to run one out to him.
“I went out there and go ‘Crud, I don’t have the skully,’ Polizzi said. “Bec came out and said ‘You’re gonna need this.’ ”
With two down in the frame, the Indians’ Troy Dixon doubled. Dixon took a big lead against a position player catching, but reliever Connor Law picked him off when he strayed too far.
“I felt like it was a good time for Kenny (Holmberg) maybe to run the guy, try to steal third,” McPherson said. “Everybody wasn’t on the same page there apparently.”
Polizzi wasn’t afraid if Dixon ran, though.
“I was like, ‘Yeah, dude, go.’ I wanted to throw somebody out.”
Polizzi went 1 for 5 at the plate with an RBI single – in the eighth inning batting as the pitcher.
The top of the first was a bit of an adventure for the Indians. Steinmetz doubled with one down and McGregory Contreras took one of his elbow pad.
Jake Brodt hit a routine grounder to short that ticked off Jonah McReynolds’ glove and into left that allowed a run. Yorman Rodriguez grounded to third to force Contreras, but Cristian Inoa’s throw to first went down the line.
Brodt tried to score from first, but Austin O’Banion came up firing to nail him at the plate easily.
The Indians got something going in the third. Tyler Depreta-Johnson’s hard grounder to third was booted and he reached via error, then O’Banion doubled into the left-field corner.
Troy Dixon bounced one to first to bring in a run, and Hasuan Viera singled up the middle against a drawn-in infield to make it 2-1.
Viera stole second and went to third on a wild pitch with two down, but Kevin Mendoza grounded to second to end the inning.
Vancouver roared back in the fourth. With one down, Rodriguez singled and went to second on a walk to Sterling Guzman. Jesus Severino drove them both in with a double to the right-center gap.
The Canadians added to their lead in the fifth. Steinmetz reached on a single off Depreta-Johnson’s glove and came around on a double off the left-center wall by Contreras.
Rodriguez followed with a single up the middle to make it 5-2. Vancouver picked up two more in the eighth on an RBI groundout by Wright and Polizzi’s single.