With the season riding on Sunday’s game, pitcher Hector Daniel Rodriguez (pictured) stepped up in a big way to ensure the Saltillo Saraperos would continue to defend their Mexican League pennant at least a little longer. Rodriguez tossed a no-hitter as Saltillo bopped Mexico City, 7-0, to cut the Diablos Rojos’ series lead to 3 games to 2 while staving off postseason elimination.
Rodriguez was a rather ordinary 4-4 for the Sarape Makers during the regular season, but there was nothing ordinary about his performance Sunday as he struck out six Diablos batters and walked four. In all, he threw 99 pitches in nine innings, 62 of them for strikes.
A second-inning Refugio Cervantes homer gave Rodriguez all the runs he’d need. Cervantes added a single and double and scored three times for the Saraperos. Hernando Arredondo also homered for Saltillo before 10,921 gleeful fans at Saltillo’s Parque Francisco I. Madero.
The series shifts to Foro Sol in Mexico City for Tuesday night’s Game Six.
GONZALEZ OUTDUELS SUZUKI (AGAIN) AS SULTANES ADVANCE
For the second time in less than a week Monterrey’s Edgar Gonzalez hooked up with LMB ERA champion Mac Suzuki, and once again Gonzalez and his Sultanes prevailed over Suzuki and the Chihuahua Dorados, this time with a 3-0 shutout. The blanking handed the Sultanes a 4-games-to-1 series win and punched their ticket to the LMB North Finals against either Saltillo or Mexico City.
Gonzales (who bested Suzuki and the Dorados, 6-3, last Tuesday) scattered three hits and a walk over eight innings for the victory while closer Julio Manon turned in a 1-2-3 ninth inning to earn his third playoff save. Suzuki got knocked out early, giving up three runs on five hits and six walks before Chihuahua manager Chico Rodriguez brought his hook to the mound with one out in the third inning.
Heber Gomez’ two-run single in the second was the key hit for Monterrey as the Sultanes shortstop went on to a 3-for-4 game. Fernando Rios had two of the Dorados’ three singles for the night.
MOREJON HR LIFTS YUCATAN TO WIN OVER PERICOS, SERIES TIED 2-2
Veteran second baseman Oswaldo Morejon lifted a two-run, two-out homer in the bottom of the fifth inning to break a 1-1 tie as the Yucatan Leones went on to beat the Puebla Pericos, 4-1, leveling their Zona Hidalgo series at two games each as a crowd of 3,818 at Merida’s Parque Kukulkan watched.
Serafin Rodriguez led off the game with a homer to left for the Pericos in the top of the first, but the Lions tied the score one inning later when Sandy Madera scored on a Gonzalo Meza single. Yucatan added an insurance run in the sixth on a Heriberto Salas RBI single.
Oscar “Perfecto” Rivera was sharp in his eight innings pitched for the Leones, allowing just one run and striking out six Puebla batsmen for the win. Guadalupe Perez gave up all four Yucatan runs in five-plus innings of work.
The Leones and Pericos will meet in Merida once again for Game Five tomorrow night.
OAXACA AND TIGRES TO CARRY 0-0 GAME OVER TO MONDAY AFTER RAINS HIT
The Oaxaca Guerreros and Quintana Roo Tigres were locked up in a 0-0 dandy Sunday night until rain halted the contest after four innings at Cancun’s Estadio Beto Avila. Oaxaca’s series lead of 2-games-to-1 will be held over for a day, too.
Guerreros starter Rolando Valdez pitched well enough, spreading three hits and three strikeouts over his four innings on the hill, although two baserunners reached scoring position in the second after a walk and a hit batsman. Quintana Roo opener Arturo Barradas was even better. The 6’3” lefty had yet to allow a Oaxaca baserunner and had thrown 31 strikes in 46 pitches through four frames.
The game will be resumed Monday afternoon at 1PM local time (weather permitting) but the rest of the series has been pushed back a day, moving Game Five in Cancun to Tuesday evening.