Saturday, August 14, 2010

MEXICAN LEAGUE PLAYOFFS: August 14, 2010

PERICOS’ EIGHT-RUN FIRST TOO MUCH FOR SALTILLO; CHAMPS STILL LEAD SERIES

After waiting out a 90-minute rain delay, the Puebla Pericos made short work of the Saltillo Saraperos Saturday night, winning Game Three, 8-5, to score their first win in the Mexican League title series. The Saraperos still lead the title set, 2 games to one, despite suffering a loss in front of 14,738 fans in Saltillo’s Parque Francisco I. Madero.

Puebla jumped on Saltillo starter Fernando Villalobos and reliever Alejandro Garrido for eight runs in the top of the first inning. Eleven batters came to the plate in what has been the largest single-inning outburst in the Liga playoffs this year. Valentin Gamez whacked a solo homer, Rene Reyes sent a three-run bomb sailing over the center field fence and Ricardo Serrano (pictured) belted his own three-run circuit clout to highlight the outpouring of runs.

Saltillo did put three runs across the plate in the bottom of the fourth, thanks in part to consecutive bases-loaded RBI singles by Christian Presichi and Jesus Cota, and added runs on Refugio Cervantes’ solo homer in the sixth and Willie Romero’s run-scoring single in the seventh, but the defending Mexican League champions had too much of a deficit to overcome.

Pericos ace Andres Meza (6.2 IP, 8 H, 4 ER) did not have his best of nights, but with an eight-run lead before he even took the mound, he didn’t have to. Villalobos was handed the loss after allowing six earned runs on five hits and a walk in two-thirds of an inning. Puebla closer Luis Ramirez picked up his fifth save in the postseason by tossing 1.2 frames of scoreless ball, but frankly, the work was done long before he entered the game with two outs to go in the eighth.

Puebla has halved Saltillo’s lead in the series as the Saraperos will take a 2-games-to-1 advantage into Sunday’s home game with the Pericos, but make no mistake: Losing the first two games of the LMB title set at home has made Puebla’s quest for a Liga pennant a very difficult task. They’ll need to win Sunday to tie the Bicentennial Series and regain home field advantage.

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