Things looked bleak for defending Mexican League champion Saltillo after four games of their first round playoff series with Mexico City. The Diablos Rojos had won three straight (two in Saltillo) and the Saraperos needed three straight victories themselves to stave off elimination…including two in Mexico City’s Foro Sol. And that’s exactly what happened.
The Saraperos capped an unlikely series comeback Thursday night with an 11-4 whacking of the Diablos in Mexico City, silencing the 8,794 fans in Foro Sol and punching their ticket to the LMB North finals against archrival Monterrey with their 4 games to 2 series victory. Saltillo was already leading Mexico City, 4-3, when they put the game away with five runs in a seventh inning that featured a Christian Presichi (pictured) two-out, three-run homer off Diablos closer Francisco Butto, who was the third Diablos hurler of the inning. In all, six pitchers took the hill for Mexico City, but only mop-up man Irwin Delgado held Saltillo scoreless, getting one out in a meaningless ninth inning appearance. Reliever Yhency Brazoban took the loss for the Diablos after coughing up two runs on five hits over two innings. Saraperos starter Jose Mercedes didn’t exactly cruise to the win (6 IP, 3 R, 8 H, 3 BB), but he got enough offensive support.
Game One of the LMB North finals will take place Saturday in Monterrey.
THREE-RUN SEVENTH HOISTS PUEBLA OVER YUCATAN INTO LMB SOUTH FINALS
The Puebla Pericos overcame a 3-1 deficit with three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to vault past the Yucatan Leones, 4-3, Thursday night before 10,992 witnesses at Puebla’s Estadio Hermanos Serdan. With the win, Puebla clinched the LMB South semifinal series, 4 games to 2.
Yucatan’s Luis Matos drilled a three-run homer in the top of the first off Pericos starter Omar Espinoza to get the Leones off to a good start, but Puebla got a run back in the bottom of the fifth when Gonzalo Meza scored on Serafin Rodriguez’ single, but it was the seventh that decided the series.
Puebla’s Valentin Gamez led off with a single up the middle off Yucatan starter Pedro Camara, who was then relieved by Heriberto Ruelas. After one out, Serafin Rodriguez was intentionally walked to fill first base and Ricardo Serrano struck out swinging for the second out of the inning, but then Ruelas gave up consecutive run-scoring singles to Luis Suarez and Omar De La Torre to tie the score at 3-3 before Suarez came in from third on a Rene Reyes bunt single with the eventual game-winning run.
Espinoza settled down after allowing Matos’ first-inning homer and allowed no more runs through the seventh to collect the win for Puebla. Ruelas was tagged with the loss for Yucatan.
OAXACA HOLDS OFF TIGRES, 3-2, TO FORCE GAME SEVEN
Erick Rodriguez scored on a seventh-inning infield hit by Jolbert Cabrera to put Oaxaca ahead and Yoel Hernandez went on throw two shutout innings in relief to give the Oaxaca Guerreros a 3-2 win over the Quintana Roo Tigres Thursday to tie their LMB South first round series at three games apiece as 7,080 fans watched in Oaxaca’s Estadio Eduardo Vasconcelos.
Rodriguez broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the fourth with a single that drove in longtime LMB veteran Juan Canizalez. Then, with Horacio Vazquez batting, Tigres veteran starter Pablo Ortega let a wild pitch loose that brought Jaime Brena in to score from third base, making it a 2-0 game. The Tigres tied the game on Sergio Contreras’ solo homer in the top of the sixth and went ahead one inning later when Albino Contreras scored on Jaime Trejo’s double. Rodriguez then led off the bottom of the seventh with a double, reached third two outs later on Eloy Gutierrez’ single and scored when Cabrera hit a sharp grounder to third that Trejo was unable to make a play on.
Reliever Misael Valenzuela got the win in relief for Oaxaca, although much credit goes to starter Rolando Valdez, who let in one earned run in six innings. Ortega took a tough loss for Quintana Roo.
Game Seven is set for Friday in Oaxaca, with the winner to face Puebla in the LMB South finals. The home team has won every game of this series.