CANCUN – Albino Contreras whacked a two-run homer and threw out a baserunner from left field to lead the Quintana Roo Tigres to a 6-1 win over the Saltillo Saraperos Wednesday night at Estadio Beto Avila. The win evened the Mexican League Championship Series at two games apiece.
Quintana Roo opened the scoring in the bottom of the first when Alex Sanchez hit a leadoff double, stole third base and came in to score on Carlos Gastelum’s sacrifice fly to center field. The Tigres put two more runs on the board in the second in a more direct fashion when Contreras poked a two-run homer to left after Carlos Sievers opened the inning with a walk.
Saltillo scored their first run when (who else?) Jesus Cota cracked a two-out homer off Tigres starter Jose Ramirez in the top of the fourth. Cota has now homered in all four LMB finals games. The stocky (5’7” and 200 pounds) Ramirez left the game with two out in the fifth after a strong showing, giving up one run on four hits.
The Tigres padded their lead with three more runs in the seventh, two coming on a bases-loaded infield single by catcher Iker Franco that drew an errant throw by Saltillo shortstop Nelson Teilon. Quintana’s Roo bullpen held the rest of the way as Felipe Arredondo picked up the win in relief as Ramirez didn’t qualify for the victory.
Sanchez had three hits and stole three bases for the Tigres, Contreras was as solid with his glove as his bat, throwing out Refugio Cervantes at second from left field as Cervantes tried stretching a single into a double. It was a critical play, as Cota homered two batters later. Cervantes finished with two singles, but also committed two errors in the field.
The two teams will meet again in Game 5 Thursday night at 7:30 local time in Cancun. After a travel day Friday, the series will conclude this weekend in Saltillo.
QUINTANA ROO TIGRES 6-7-0, SALTILLO SARAPEROS 1-6-3
W-Felipe Arredondo (2-0). L-Hector Rodriguez (2-1).
HR-Albino Contreras (QR), Jesus Cota (SAL).