Saturday, January 16, 2010

MAZATLAN EDGES CULIACAN IN GAME 7, BOTH ADVANCE TO SEMIS

Little-used Lorenzo Buelna drove in Jon Weber with a walk-off single in the bottom of the tenth inning to give Mazatlan a 2-1 win over Culiacan in Game 7 of their Mexican Pacific League series at Estadio Teodoro Mariscal on January 10. While the Venados ended up winning the series, the Tomateros will join Mazatlan in the semifinals as the wild card team by virtue of winning three games in a losing first round effort.

Buelna, who hit .278 in just 72 at-bats for the Venados during the regular season, was 2-for-2 after entering the deciding game as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning. With Weber at third base and John Lindsey on first, Buelna stroked a single to left field off reliever Arturo Barradas, who had intentionally walked Lindsey to pitch to Buelna.

Culiacan had tied the series at three games apiece with a 5-3 win on January 9. The Tomateros were trailing, 3-1, in the top of the seventh before Mike McCoy put the visitors ahead with a bases-loaded triple off reliever Jose Cobos. After Cobos was immediately yanked, Ramiro Pena singled in McCoy off Jose Luis Garcia.

Meanwhile, Hermosillo was putting the finishing touches on their 4-2 series win over Navojoa on January 9 with a 3-0 shutout over the Mayos in Hermosillo. Travis Blackley won his second playoff game with another superb effort, blanking Navojoa on one hit with seven strikeouts over eight innings. Humberto Cota scored one run and drove in another for the Naranjeros, who joined Mazatlan, Culiacan and Obregon in the semis. The Yaquis won their opening round series with Mexicali in five games.

VENADOS CONTINUE WINNING WAYS AGAINST OBREGON

Mazatlan stayed at home for the first two games of their semifinal series with Obregon, winning both contests.

Jon Weber (pictured) cracked an RBI double in a three-run third inning to aid the Venados’ 4-1 win over the Yaquis in the January 12 opener. Starter Jasiel Acosta went to 2-0 in the postseason by pitching six innings of two-hit, one-run ball. Luis Terrero’s homer scored the lone Yaquis run.

One night later, Mazatlan whitewashed Obregon, 7-0, as Pablo Ortega notched his second playoff win with seven innings of three-hit pitching. Reid Brignac had two hits and three RBIs for the Venados while Weber went 3-for-5.

The series shifted to Obregon for as many as three games there beginning January 15.