CANCUN – A six-run first inning was more than starter Francisco Cordova needed to protect as the Quintana Roo Tigres pounded the Saltillo Saraperos, 8-3, Tuesday night in the Mexican League Championship Series at Estadio Beto Avila in Cancun. With the loss, Saltillo saw their lead in the best-of-7 set cut to 2 games to 1.
The Saraperos took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning on Jose Rodriguez’ solo homer to left field, but the Tigres came storming back in the bottom of the frame to chase Saltillo pitcher Jose Mercedes and give Cordova a big cushion to work with. Mercedes had allowed just one run while posting three wins over the first two rounds of the Liga playoffs, but the 38-year-old righty was rocked for six runs on as many hits before Saltillo manager Orlando Sanchez mercifully pulled him with only one out recorded. The key blow was Albino Contreras’ bases-loaded triple past Saraperos right fielder Christian Presichi. Cecilio Garibaldi stopped the bleeding, but for all intent and purposes, the game was decided. The Tigres added two runs in the fourth.
Cordova cruised through seven innings for Quintana Roo, shutting down Saltillo after Rodriguez’ homer. The 6’3” righty allowed the lone run on just three hits and no walks. Reliever Jorge De Paula gave up an RBI double to Rodriguez in the eighth to make it 8-2, but Quintana Roo closer Scott Chiasson (who led the LMB with 34 saves in the regular season) came on in the ninth and finished up the win for the Tigres despite allowing a homer to Jesus Cota, who has now gone deep in all three finals games for Saltillo after hitting two homers over the first two playoff rounds.
Derrick White went 3-for-5 with two runs and an RBI for Quintana Roo, while Contreras finished 2-for-3, scoring once and driving in four runs. For Saltillo, Rodriguez ended with a homer and double to drive in two runs.
The two teams will meet Wednesday night in Cancun.
QUINTANA ROO TIGRES 8-12-1, SALTILLO SARAPEROS 3-6-1
W-Rafael Diaz (2-1). L-Arturo Barradas (2-2).
HR-Jose Rodriguez, SAL (2); Jesus Cota, SAL (5).