The Saltillo Saraperos scored 14 runs from the fifth through the ninth innings, but survived a scare in the bottom of the ninth to outlast Mexico City, 14-13, Tuesday night in the Distrito Federal in front of 7,578 onlookers at Foro Sol. The Saraperos win lifted the defending Mexican League champs into a tie with the Diablos Rojos after six games of their Zona Madero semifinal playoff series.
The game started off quietly enough as the Diablos took a 1-0 lead in the second on Jose Luis Sandoval’s RBI single. That’s where the score remained until the top of the fifth, when the Saraperos exploded for six runs on six hits, two walks and a passed ball on a third strike as eleven Saltillo players came to the plate. From that point the hit parade was on as neither team registered a scoreless inning the rest of the night. Saltillo built a 12-5 eighth-inning lead before the Diablos batted around their own order in the bottom of the stanza to plate five runs (thanks to Eduardo Arredondo’s two-run single and Geronimo Gil’s three-run double) to make it a 12-10 contest.
Saltillo tacked on one more run in the ninth on a Jose Rodriguez homer, but the home team refused to go quietly into the good night, scoring three runs with two down as Oscar Robles and Gabriel Gutierrez slapped RBI singles and Gil added a one-run double off Saltillo reliever Travis Minix. After Gil’s double, Minix intentionally walked Ivan Terrazas, who is hitting .429 in this series, to get at Victor Bojorquez and his .263 average. Minix then induced Bojorquez into a fly ball to right that was hauled in by Christian Presichi for the final out of the game.
Reliever Cecilio Garibaldi was awarded the win for the Saraperos while Mexico City starter Esteban Yan took the loss. Both clubs had 18 hits, with the 40-year-old Sandoval going 4-for-4 for the Diablos to raise his postseason batting average to .529.
The two teams will get together one more time at Foro Sol on Wednesday night for the seventh and deciding game, with the winner facing Monterrey in the LMB North Finals.
TIGRES WHACK OAXACA, 7-1, TO TAKE SERIES LEAD
A five-run fifth inning that busted a 1-1 game wide open was the turning point for the Quintana Roo Tigres as they went on to put a 7-1 thumping on the Oaxaca Guerreros Tuesday night before 4,342 fans at Estadio Beto Avila in Cancun. The win nudged the Tigres ahead of Oaxaca, 3 games to 2, in their LMB South semifinal playoff series.
Jaime Trejo opened the game’s scoring for Quintana Roo by coming in from second base on Iker Franco’s two-out single in the bottom of the third inning. Oaxaca tied the contest at 1-1 in the top of the fifth when Juan Francisco Cordova rapped a single to drive in Alejandro Gonzalez from second.
The dam burst in the bottom of the fifth as Tigres’ shortstop Kevin Flores cranked a grand slam with two out off reliever Martin Sotelo to make it 6-1. Sotelo entered the game after Oaxaca starter Sergio Valenzuela gave up a go-ahead single to Abel Martinez just before Flores stepped to the plate.
Flores, who added an RBI single in the seventh, had come into the game as a substitute following the second flare-up between the two teams in as many nights. This one came in the top of the first with two out when a Victor Mercedes single to right sent Jolbert Cabrera from first to second for the Guerreros. An ensuing dispute led to ejections for Cabrera, Tigres shortstop Flavio Romero and Quintana Roo right fielder Sergio Contreras. Five players have been tossed the past two nights.
Reliever Sandy Nin got the victory for Quintana Roo by tossing 3.1 innings of scoreless baseball in relief of starter Francisco Cordova, who pitched well himself by letting in just one run in 4.1 frames. Valenzuela took the defeat for the Guerreros after allowing five runs on four hits (three of the runs that came in on Flores’ grand slam were charged to the 6’3” right-hander.
The teams will use Wednesday as a travel day before resuming the emotionally-charged series in Oaxaca with Game Six on Thursday night.