The Saltillo Saraperos are just one win away from copping only their second Mexican League pennant since joining the Liga in 1970. Saltillo’s lone title came in 1980, when all-time greats Andres Mora and Juan Navarette anchored the team.
Heading into the weekend, the Saraperos held a 3 games to 2 lead over the Quintana Roo Tigres in the best-of-seven LMB Championship Series.
GAME 1: Saltillo 7, Quintana Roo 6 (Saturday, August 22 in Saltillo)
The Saraperos opened the series with a 7-6 win at home last Saturday as Saltillo came back from a 6-2 deficit with five runs in the fifth inning, featuring a two-run Nelson Teilon single and a three-run homer by Jesus Cota. Reliever Fernando Villalobos got the win after pitching 3.1 scoreless innings. Tigres starter Pablo Ortega absorbed the loss.
GAME 2: Saltillo 6, Quintana Roo 3 (Sunday, August 23 in Saltillo)
Saltillo made it a 2-0 series with a 6-3 win Sunday night. Cota clobbered his second homer of the finals and Saraperos starter Rafael Diaz went 6.2 strong innings, giving up three runs on nine hits. The game was tied at 3-3 before Cota poked a two-run homer in the bottom of the third inning. The left fielder added an insurance run in the eighth on a wild pitch.
GAME 3: Quintana Roo 8, Saltillo 3 (Tuesday, August 25 in Cancun)
The series shifted to Cancun for Game 3 Tuesday night, and the Tigres took an 8-3 win thanks in no small part to a six-run first inning, three tallies coming on Albino Contreras’ bases-loaded triple. Quintana Roo starter Francisco Cordova let in one run on yet another Cota homer, but finished after seven innings with just three hits allowed and no walks.
GAME 4: Quintana Roo 6, Saltillo 1 (Wednesday, August 26 in Cancun)
The Tigres evened the series at two games apiece Wednesday night with a solid 6-1 win over the Saraperos. Contreras followed up his solid Game 3 performance with a two-run homer in the second, and nailing Saltillo’s Refugio Cervantes trying to stretch a single into a double in the fourth with a strong throw from left field. Cota homered foe the fourth game in a row.
GAME 5: Saltillo 10, Quintana Roo 5 (Thursday, August 27 in Cancun)
Saltillo became the first road team to win in the series Thursday night, bopping the Tigres, 10-5. This was decided fairly early as Hernando Arredondo crashed a grand slam homer in the second inning and Jonathan Aceves belted a grand slam of his own in the fourth. Saraperos starting pitcher Mario Mendoza, Jr. got the win with six decent innings of work.
Game 6 was set for Saturday night in Saltillo, with Game 7 (if needed) slated on Sunday night. The Saraperos drew 31,793 for the first two games of the series, while 24,778 fans clicked the turnstiles for the three midweek contests in Cancun.