Saturday, July 31, 2010



While he couldn’t repeat his no-hitter from the first round, Hector Daniel Rodriguez certainly did well enough for Saltillo as the Saraperos silenced Monterrey, 4-0, in the opening game of their Mexican League Zona Madero final series Saturday night before 19,485 at Estadio Monterrey.

In his first start since tossing his gem against Mexico City, Rodriguez hurled six scoreless innings for the Saraperos, limiting Monterrey to four hits and four walks while striking out seven Sultanes. Cecilio Garibaldi, Thomas Melgarejo and Mario Mendoza, Jr. held Monterrey to one hit the rest of the way in a game that was featured 105-degree heat when the first pitch was thrown. Rodriguez is now 3-0 in the postseason. Edgar Gonzalez took the loss for the Sultanes after winning twice in the first round against Chihuahua.

Refugio “Cuco” Cervantes (pictured) opened the Saraperos’ scoring in the top of the fourth inning with a two-run homer off Gonzalez. It was the fourth circuit clout of the playoffs for Cervantes after he whacked 20 in 91 regular season games. Gabriel Martinez, who scored on Cervantes’ homer, belted a solo shot of his own in the sixth frame, and Hernando Arredondo made it a 4-0 contest by scoring on Jonathan Aceves’ seventh-inning double. Martinez ended up going 3-for-4 on the night to lead the Saltillo offense. Monterrey was limited to five hits in the game, with leadoff batter Chris Roberson singling and doubling in a losing effort.

The two sides will go at it again tomorrow in Game Two. Francisco Felix will get the start for Saltillo while Jonathan Castellanos will open on the mound for Monterrey.

Friday, July 30, 2010


Victor Mercedes (pictured) stroked a bases-loaded single in the bottom of the ninth inning to drive in Alejandro Gonzalez with the game-winning run to give the Oaxaca Guerreros a 5-4 win over the Quintana Roo Tigres Friday night before 7,357 ecstatic fans at Oaxaca’s Estadio Eduardo Vasconcelos in the seventh and deciding game of their Mexican League Zona Hidalgo semifinal series.

The Tigres opened the scoring in the top of the second when Carlos Sievers led off with a homer to right on a full count off Oaxaca starter Heriberto Rodriguez. The Guerreros came back with four counters of their own in the bottom of the second, two on an Erick Rodriguez double against Tigres ace Bobby Cramer (who failed to last the inning). Quintana Roo knotted the score at 4-4 with another three runs in the third as Sergio Contreras doubled in Christian Quintero just before Iker Franco blasted his third homer of the series into the left field bleachers.

Things settled down after that as Quintana Roo relievers Arturo Barradas, Sandy Nin and Scott Chiasson traded zeros with Oaxaca’s Francisco Rosario through the eighth inning. Rosario retired the Tigres in order on ten pitches in the top of the ninth, but Chiasson (the 2009 LMB Reliever of the Year who tied for third in the Liga with 24 saves this season) immediately got into trouble in the bottom of the frame by allowing consecutive singles by Gonzalez and Eloy Gutierrez. The Tigres then decided to intentionally walk Jolbert Cabrera to fill the bases and pitch to Mercedes. Cabrera was hitting .360 in the series, but not a lot was gained by facing the .320-batting Mercedes instead. Sure enough, after a swinging strike to begin his duel with Chiasson, Mercedes lined a single past Tigres third sacker Jaime Trejo into left field to plate Gonzalez with the series winner.

Mercedes ended up 3-for-4 for the night and Quintana Roo leadoff batter Alex Sanchez was a perfect 4-for-4 as both teams collected 13 hits. Rosario earned the win with 6.2 innings of scoreless pitching out of the bullpen for the Guerreros while Chiasson was tagged with the loss.

Oaxaca now advances to the LMB South finals against Puebla, beginning Sunday in Puebla. The LMB North final will start tomorrow in Monterrey, where the Sultanes will host Saltillo.

Thursday, July 29, 2010



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.


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.


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.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010



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.


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.

Monday, July 26, 2010



Bobby Cramer picked up Monday where Arturo Barradas had left things on Sunday as Quintana Roo completed a 2-0 suspended-game shutout over Oaxaca in their Mexican League Zona Hidalgo first round series. A crowd of 3,410 in Cancun’s Parque Beto Avila looked on as the Tigres evened the best-of-7 series at two games apiece.

Cramer took Barradas’ place on the mound Monday after the latter retired all 12 Oaxaca batters he faced Sunday before the scoreless tie was suspended by rain after four innings. Cramer went on to throw 4.2 innings of three-hit shutout ball before closer Scott Chiasson came in with two out in the top of the ninth and fanned the Guerreros’ Christian Quintero to end the game.

The Tigres did all their scoring in the fifth inning when a Sergio Contreras double drove in Alex Sanchez with the game’s first run. Contreras later came in to score from third base when Oaxaca pitcher Francisco Rosario plunked Albino Contreras with the bases loaded. Albino Contreras was ejected along with Guerreros third baseman Victor Martinez at the conclusion of the seventh inning after Contreras tapped a ground ball to Martinez, who tagged Iker Franco at third for the second out of the frame before throwing to first to retire Contreras and complete the inning-ending double play.

Cramer got the win for Quintana Roo while Rosario suffered the defeat in relief of starter Rolando Valdez, who (like Barradas) tossed four shutout innings Sunday while allowing three hits.

Game Five in the series is scheduled for Tuesday night in Cancun. The series will move back to Oaxaca for Game Six on Thursday.


Like the Tigres-Oaxaca game to the east in Cancun, the Puebla-Yucatan playoff tilt in Merida was delayed for an hour and a half, but the Pericos stuck with it and held on for a 3-2 win over the Leones to take a 3-games-to-2 lead in their LMB South semifinal series in front of 4,566 fans at Parque Kukulkan.

Puebla took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first on an RBI single by Omar De La Torre. The Pericos added one run to the margin in the second when Cesar Tapia doubled and later scored on a groundout, and made it a 3-0 contest in the fifth after Serafin Rodriguez scored from third on a fielder’s choice.

Yucatan ruined Andres Meza’s shutout bid in the sixth when Fernando Valenzuela, Jr. doubled in Oswaldo Morejon from second. Valenzuela went on to score on a Said Gutierrez single. With two out in the sixth at that point, Meza was replaced by Victor Jacome, who combined with two other relievers to limit the Pericos to no runs on one hit the rest of the way.

Meza took the win for Puebla to go to 2-0 in the playoffs, while Yucatan starter Wilton Chavez fell to 0-2 after allowing three runs on eight hits over four frames for Yucatan.

The series will shift to Puebla for Game Six on Wednesday night.

Sunday, July 25, 2010



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.


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.


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.


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.

Saturday, July 24, 2010



The Monterrey Sultanes received a homer and two doubles from designated hitter Mendy Lopez (pictured) and seven innings of two-hit scoreless pitching from starter Sergio Mora in a 5-1 win over Chihuahua Saturday night as 8,974 fans watched in Estadio Monterrey. The Sultanes victory came hours after the Dorados finished a 6-4 triumph in a game that had been suspended by rain Friday night, so Monterrey now owns a 3 to 1 lead in the best-of-7 Mexican League Zona Madero semifinal playoff series.

The 36-year-old Lopez went 3-for-3 and scored twice for the Sultanes, and is now hitting an even .500 for the series against the Dorados. Mora had a perfect game going until walking Jacob Cruz in the top of the fifth inning, sailed through his seven innings of work. Ramon Orantes broke the shutout bid in the ninth for Chihuahua by doubling off reliever Julio Manon and scoring later on a Benji Gil groundout. Claudio Moreno took the loss for the Dorados by giving up four runs in 5.1 frames.

The Sultanes will try to wrap up the series and a berth in the LMB North Finals with a win Sunday.


The Mexico City Diablos Rojos banged out 16 hits Saturday night in an 8-6 win at Saltillo in front of 6,948 fans at Parque Francisco I. Madero. Ivan Terrazas was 5-for-5 with a seventh-inning solo homer for the Diablos, who now lead their LMB North semifinal series with the Saraperos 3 games to 1 heading into Sunday’s Game Five in Saltillo.

Mexico City broke open a scoreless tie in the top of the third inning with three runs as Roberto Saucedo’s double drove in Eduardo Arredondo with the game’s first tally. Saltillo actually took a 4-3 lead by scoring once in the fourth inning and going ahead on Gabriel Martinez’ three-run homer to center field in the fifth, but the visitors went ahead for good with two scores in the sixth and three in the seventh.

The Saraperos did manage a pair of runs in the seventh, but they ended up being academic. Reliever Salvador Robles took the win for the Diablos while Saltillo’s Travis Minix was pinned with the loss.


The Puebla Pericos broke a 1-1 tie with two runs in the top of the ninth and held on to beat Yucatan, 3-1, Saturday at Parque Kukulkan in Merida before 4,401 fans who braved 106-degree heat to attend the match. The win gives Puebla a 2-1 advantage in their Zona Hidalgo series with the Leones.

Puebla starting pitcher Lorenzo Barcelo let in one run while scattering six hits for the win. Likewise, Yucatan starter Oswaldo Verdugo was sharp, tossing 5.2 shutout innings and allowing four hits.

Yucatan scored in the bottom of the first inning when Luis Matos led off with a double and came in on a Sandy Madera single. The Leones’ 1-0 lead held until the seventh, when Ricardo Serrano doubled and scored on Luis Suarez single. In the ninth, Serrano singled, Suarez walked, and both came in when Omar De La Torre singled to left and drew a throwing error by Yucatan’s Gonzalo Meza. LMB saves champ Luis Ramirez held the Leones scoreless in the ninth to seal the win for Puebla.

Game Four of the series is scheduled for Sunday in Merida.


Iker Franco blasted a first inning three-run homer over the right field wall as the Quintana Roo Tigres went on to defeat Oaxaca, 8-3, Saturday as 3,432 onlookers witnessed the contest at Cancun’s Estadio Beto Avila. Depite the win, the Tigres still trail the Guerreros in the series, 2 games to 1.

The Tigres made it a 4-0 game in the fourth on a Jaime Trejo homer off Oaxaca starter Rudy Gonzalez, but Jolbert Cabrera’s three-run double for the Guerreros one inning later closed the gap considerably. However, Quintana Roo scored twice in the seventh (including a Carlos Sievers solo homer) and two more in the eighth on an Alex Sanchez triple to put the game away for good.

Game Four in the series is slated for Sunday in Cancun.

Friday, July 23, 2010



Things were sailing along well enough for the Saltillo Saraperos Friday night. Although the defending Mexican League champions only scored single runs in the second and sixth innings, that was enough support for Saltillo starting pitcher Jose Mercedes as the ex-major leaguer was shutting out visiting Mexico City through the first seven innings of Game Three in the playoff series.

Then Saraperos manager Orlando Sanchez went to his bullpen for the eighth. Bad move.

Relievers Thomas Melgarejo and Mario Mendoza, Jr. combined to allow five runs on five hits and a walk as the Diablos Rojos batted through the order to take a 5-0 lead, and Mexico City scored twice more in the top of the ninth for a 7-2 comeback win in front of 9,855 fans at Saltillo’s Parque Francisco I. Madero. The Red Devils now lead the best-of-7 Mexican League North semifinals, 2 games to 1.
The score was still 2-0 with two out and runners at the corners when Mendoza replaced Melgarejo in the eighth, but Japhet Amador’s RBI single put the Diablos on the board. One walk later and with the bases loaded, Saltillo left fielder Jesus Cota’s throwing error on a Geronimo Gil (pictured) single led to three Mexico City runs crossing the plate on the play and Gil moving to second, putting the Diablos ahead, 4-2. Jose Luis Sandoval’s single brought in Gil to finish the inning’s fireworks with Mexico City holding a 5-2 advantage.

The wheels really came off the wagon for Saltillo in the ninth when Cota and shortstop Jose Rodriguez both commited errors behind new pitcher Cecilio Garibaldi, leading to two more tallies for the visitors, and Diablos closer Francisco Butto came in for a 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth to nail down the win.

Mexico City outhit Saltillo, 12 to 8, as Gil collected three singles. Willie Romero and Gabriel Martinez each had two hits for the Saraperos while Refugio Cervantes added a solo homer in the second. Reliever David Cortes took the win, while Melgarejo absorbed the loss although no runs scored against him while he was in the game.

The same two teams will battle it out in Game Four on Saturday in Saltillo.


The Chihuahua Dorados were eight outs away from picking up their first win against Monterrey in Game Three of their first round series Friday night, but rains halted the contest with Chihuahua holding a 6-4 lead over the host Sultanes at Estadio Monterrey. Monterrey batter Edgar Quintero was facing a 2-0 count against Dorados reliever Mauro Nieblas with one out in the bottom of the seventh when home plate umpire Oscar Marin suspended the contest due to a driving rain.

Chihuahua got off to a 5-0 lead in the top of the first against Sultanes starter Walter Silva, a former Padres hurler who never made it past the first out of the game. Silva let in five runs on as many hits and three walks before mercifully being lifted for lefty reliever Raul Rodriguez. With the bases loaded and one out and the score already 1-0, a two-run ground rule double by Benji Gil was immediately followed by a two-run single by Wilfredo Arano to make it a 5-0 Chihuahua lead. At that point, Rodriguez entered the game and stopped the bleeding.

Rodriguez did well out of the bullpen for the Sultanes, tossing 4.1 shutout innings as his teammates chipped away at the Dorados lead with a run in the first and two in the fourth. Another Chihuahua score made it a 6-3 ballgame, but Monterrey notched another tally in the sixth. When the game was halted, Gil was working on a 3-for-4 night for Chihuahua while teammate Omar Mendoza had a pair of doubles. Luis Alfonso Garcia had two of Monterrey’s five hits, both singles.

As a result of the rain delay, the Dorados and Sultanes will try to get in two games Saturday. The suspended game will resume at 1:00PM local time. If it’s completed by 3:30, they’ll play again at 5:30. If not, Game Four will be pushed back to Sunday in Monterrey.

Thursday, July 22, 2010



The Oaxaca Guerreros will take a two-game lead in their best-of-7 playoff series to Cancun after winning their second consecutive Mexican League Zona Hidalgo semifinal game Thursday night. The Guerreros topped the Quintana Roo Tigres, 9-5, before 5,950 fans at Oaxaca’s Parque Eduardo Vasconcelos.

Second baseman Jaime Brena (pictured) swung the big stick for the Guerreros, going 3-for-5 with a triple and three RBIs. Brena, who celebrates his 30th birthday on Friday, batted .345 in 86 games for Oaxaca during the regular season. He singled in the first inning, singled in Victor Mercedes in the fourth, and broke open a 4-4 tie in the fifth by bringing Jolbert Cabrera and Christian Quintero on a long line-drive triple past Quintana Roo center fielder Alex Sanchez.

The Guerreros went on to score five runs in the frame as starter Sergio Valenzuela and four relievers combined to allow just one Tigres run (a Jaime Trejo tally on a seventh-inning sacrifice fly) the rest of the way. Sanchez went 3-for-5 at the plate for Quintana Roo while Iker Franco had a pair of hits and three RBIs.

Valenzuela got the win for Oaxaca despite a shaky 6.2 innings in which he gave up five runs, including a two-run Franco homer in the third. Tigres starter Francisco Cordova absorbed the loss by letting in seven runs on eleven hits over 4.2 laborious innings on the hill.
After Friday’s travel day, the series will resume Saturday with Game Three at Cancun’s Parque Beto Avila.

In a game that featured eleven runs and twenty hits between the two teams, it was a run scored on an eighth-inning wild pitch that gave Yucatan a 6-5 win in Puebla to even their LMB South semi series at a game apiece. A crowd of 6,778 witnessed the battle at Puebla’s Estadio Hermanos Serdan.
With the score tied 5-5 going into the top of the eighth, Pericos reliever Jose Cobos walked the first two batters he faced, Raul Sanchez and Said Gutierrez. Both runners moved up 90 feet when Sergio Palafox executed a perfect sacrifice bunt. With Heriberto Salas at the plate, Cobos uncorked a wild pitch that brought Sanchez in from third to score the eventual game-winner. Leones closer Joel Vargas came in with one out in the bottom of the eighth and held Puebla scoreless the rest of the way to earn the save.
Salas drove in three runs and was one of three Leones batters to collect two hits as all nine Yucatan safeties came on singles. Ricardo Serrano belted a two-run homer in the fifth for Puebla while Luis Suarez crashed a solo shot in the seventh for the Pericos. Reliever Heriberto Ruelas picked up the win for Yucatan while Cobos’ costly eighth inning for Puebla earned him the loss.
Both teams will use Friday to move on to Merida for Game Three in the series on Saturday.

The Monterrey Sultanes will attempt to go ahead by three games in their series with Chihuahua at home Friday at the same time the Saltillo Saraperos will try to break a 1-1 deadlock with Mexico City in the comfortable confines of Parque Francisco I. Madero.
The Monterrey-Chihuahua series moves into 27,000-seat Estadio Monterrey, the largest baseball park in Mexico, for Games Four through Six (if needed) this weekend after the Sultanes opened Zona Madero set this week with a pair of road wins in Chihuahua.
Saltillo and Mexico City split their two games at Foro Sol. Saltillo is the defending Liga champion, but the Diablos Rojos are rated by many as the team to beat in this year’s postseason.
The Diablos won the Triple Crown of team batting in the LMB this summer, leading the league in hitting (.322), homers (110) and RBIs (617). In all, seven Liga teams batted .300 or better during the regular season while another six topped the .290 mark.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


One day after dropping the first game of their first round series with Saltillo, the Mexico City Diablos Rojos built a 12-0 lead and never looked back in a 12-4 triumph over defending LMB champion Saltillo Wednesday night before 5,268 in Mexico City’s Foro Sol to tie the set at one game apiece.

First baseman Japhet Amador (pictured) stroked a grand slam homer in the bottom of the first for the Diablos, who went on to score at least one run in each of the game’s first five innings. Roberto Saucedo and Ivan Terrazas added two-run bombs in the second and fifth innings, respectively, as Mexico City madder short work of Saraperos starter Alejandro Garrido and reliever Francisco Felix, who each let in six runs in two innings of labor on the mound. Red Devils starter Esteban Yan was scuffed up a bit, letting in four runs on ten hits in seven frames, but pitched well enough for the win.

Jose Rodriguez was 3-for-5 while Noe Munoz crashed a two-run homer off Yan for Saltillo, who will host Game Three of the series Friday night at Parque Francisco I. Madero.

Home field advantage hasn’t amounted to much for the Chihuahua Dorados, who dropped their second straight playoff contest to the Monterrey Sultanes at Estadio Chihuahua Wednesday night, 5-3.

Monterrey scored all five runs in the top of the first inning as Chihuahua starter Angel Castro was yanked after allowing all five runs on four hits and two walks while collecting just one out. Humberto Cota’s ground-rule double to left-center field brought in two runs gave support to starter Jonathan Castellanos. A native of Monterrey, Castellanos (who has battled injuries all season) let in just one run on three hits over six innings for the win. Mendy Lopez led the Monterrey offense by going 3-for-5 with a run and two RBIs. Castro absorbed the loss for the Dorados, who got a standout relief performance from Angel Araiza, a 20-year-old from Guanajuato who pitched 7.2 scoreless innings.

The series shifts to Monterrey Friday night for Game Three.

Cesar Tapia’s two-run double was the key blow in a four-run first inning as Puebla bashed out an 12-6 victory over Yucatan Wednesday night before 10,155 fans in Puebla, taking a 1-0 lead in their best-of-7 LMB South semifinal series after Tuesday’s scheduled opener was rained out.

Yucatan starter Wilton Chavez got himself in trouble early by walking three batters and allowing a single before Tapia doubled to left field, bringing in Ricardo Serrano and Omar De La Torre to make the score 3-0. One more Pericos run crossed the plate to put Chavez and the Leones into a 4-0 hole they never dug themselves out of, although they did score five runs in the ninth to close the gap somewhat.

The Parrots racked up 16 hits off nine Leones hurlers in support of starting pitcher Andres Meza, who tossed six solid innings of one-run ball with five strikeouts. Tapia went 3-for-4 with four RBIs for Puebla while Rene Reyes had three hits and scored three runs for the winners.
The Leones and Pericos meet again Thursday night at Puebla’s Estadio Hermanos Serdan.

Trailing 6-3 in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Oaxaca Guerreros rallied for five runs and went on to hold off the Quintana Roo Tigres, 7-6, to win their playoff series opener at home.

The Tigres gave star pitcher Bobby Cramer a 6-2 lead as Cramer went six strong innings, allowing two runs on four hits. However, Oaxaca touched up three Tigres relievers for five runs on four hits and a pair of walks in the seventh as eight Guerreros came to the plate. A trio of relievers nailed down the win for Oaxaca as Yoel Hernandez struck out Jaime Trejo to end the game. Erick Rodriguez was 3-for-4 with a triple and two RBIs for Oaxaca, while Albino Contreras homered for Quintana Roo.

The two teams meet again at Estadio Eduardo Vasconcelos in Oaxaca for Game Two Thursday.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


An eight-run seventh inning blew open what had been a pitcher’s battle as the Saltillo Saraperos went on to clobber the Mexico City Diablos Rojos, 11-1, Tuesday night in front of 4,401 fans at Mexico City’s Foro Sol.
Saltillo starter Hector Daniel Rodriguez (pictured) went seven shutout innings for the win as the left-hander from Culiacan scattered four hits and struck out seven Diablos batters. The defending champs pounded four homers off three Mexico City relievers in the seventh, the key blast being a three-run bomb by Jose Rodriguez. Refugio Cervantes added a two-run shot while Cristian Presichi and Jose Amador clubbed back-to-back homers as Saltillo sent ten men to the plate in the frame.
Oscar Robles broke up the shutout bid in the bottom of the eighth by driving in Eduardo Arredondo with a single, but by that point any Diablos runs were academic. Noe Munoz went 4-for-5 for Saltillo with three doubles and three RBIs, while veteran Jose Luis Sandoval collected two of Mexico City’s six hits. The final score obscures what had been a solid pitching performance by Diablos starter Roberto Ramirez, who gave up one run over six innings of work on the mound.
Saltillo takes a 1-0 lead in the best-of seven first round series into Wednesday night’s game in Mexico City.

Luis Alfonso Garcia whacked a two-run homer to straightaway center field in the top of the first inning and the Monterrey Sultanes never trailed en route to a 6-3 win over the Chihuahua Dorados in a first round playoff game in front of 8,257 fanaticos in Chihuahua.
Chihuahua came to within 2-1 in the fourth when Omar Mendoza scored from third on Benji Gil’s one-out groundout, but the Sultanes responded by adding one run on Agustin Murillo’s RBI single in the sixth and two more tallies in the seventh when pinch-hitter Sergio Perez hit a one-out, bases-loaded grounder to Gil at shortstop. Gil conceded the first run by Mendy Lopez coming in from third base by tossing the ball to Mendoza at second to force out Humberto Cota for the front end of a double play. However, an errant throw by Mendoza to first sacker Francisco Mendez brought in Edgar Quintero (who’d began the play at second) with Monterrey’s second run of the inning, giving the Sultanes a 5-1 lead.
Edgar Gonzalez got the pitching win for Monterrey by going six innings and allowing one run on just two hits. 2010 Liga ERA champion Mac Suzuki took the loss for Chihuahua after tossing six innings and letting in three runs on five hits and six walks while striking out eight batsmen.
The Sultanes and Dorados will meet Wednesday night for Game Two in Chihuahua.

Both Zona Hidalgo semifinal series games scheduled for Tuesday night were washed out by rain. The Yucatan Leones were on the road in Puebla to take on the Perico, while Cancun’s Quintana Roo Tigres were in Oaxaca to face the host Warriors. Both openers have been rescheduled for 7:00PM local time in Puebla’s Estadio Hermanos Serdan and Estadio Eduardo Vasconcelos in Oaxaca.

Monday, July 19, 2010


The Mexico City Diablos Rojos and Campeche Piratas held off their challengers to win second-half titles in the Mexican League Zonas Madero and Hidalgo, respectively. Both Mexico City and Campeche picked up eight points for winning the second-half divisional titles.

Overall, the Diablos finished with a two-half total of 14.5 points and are the top seed in the Zona Madero while first-half champion Monterrey is second with 13.5 points. Chihuahua, Saltillo and Reynosa all tied for third at 12.0 points. The Dorados (.551) and Saraperos (.528) gained the final two playoff berths by having a better won-lost percentage for the season than the Broncos (.523). Saltillo will open the playoffs tomorrow in Mexico City while Chihuahua visits Monterrey.

In the Zona Hidalgo, first-half titlist Puebla (14.5 points) earned the top seed while Oaxaca is number two (14.0) and Quintana Roo (12.5) is third. However, despite their second-half flag and more cumulative points, Campeche (12.5) was squeezed out of the fourth playoff berth by Yucatan (11.5) because the 54-50 Leones had a better season record than the 52-50 Piratas. Thus, Yucatan will open in Puebla, Oaxaca will host Quintana Roo, and Campeche will be on the sidelines watching.

Go figure.


In a league known primarily for its hitters, Quintana Roo import pitcher Bobby Cramer had a year to remember.
Cramer, a 30-year-old lefty from Anaheim, California who bounced around the minors since being drafted in the 38th round by Seattle in 2001, ended the regular season for the Tigres by leading the Mexican League in five pitching categories: Wins, complete games, shutouts, strikeouts and WHIP. Cramer went 13-3 with a 2.95 ERA, 5 complete games, 3 shutouts, 123 strikeouts and just 27 walks in 128 innings with a 1.12 WHIP. Chihuahua’s Mac Suzuki won the ERA title with a 2.89 mark while Puebla closer Luis Ramirez finished with 30 saves.

Among LMB hitters, Puebla’s Willis Otanez (who has missed the last two weeks after being struck on his right foot with a pitch) won the batting title with a .393 average, beating out Yucatan’s Sandy Madera, who finished at .383. Veracruz’ Victor Diaz led the Liga with 29 homers and 96 RBIs and Laguna’s Alexis Gomez won the stolen bases title by a comfortable margin with 37 swipes.


Despite ongoing battles between law enforcement officers and drug cartel members in northern Mexico this year, the conflict had not directly affected a Mexican League game until last weekend.

The Reynosa Broncos were hosting the Monterrey Sultanes in a Zona Madero matchup on Sunday, July 11, and the Broncos were batting with a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the sixth inning when gunfire outside Parque dolfo Lopez Mateos broke out after an RBI single by Reynosa’s Domingo Castro off Sultanes reliever Pablo Menchaca. Everyone on the field as well as the crowd of 1,638 instinctively ducked or sought cover and nobody was injured. Plate umpire Jaime Gutierrez then suspended the game.

The game was resumed in Monterrey last Friday as Reynosa went on to a 4-0 win.


The National League ended a losing streak dating to 1996 with a 3-1 win over the American League in Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game last Tuesday in Anaheim, but San Diego’s Adrian Gonzalez went hitless in two at-bats for the winners. Gonzalez replaced Albert Pujols at first base in the fourth inning. Boston’s Jon Lester got Gonzalez to ground out in the sixth inning and Tampa Bay’s Rafael Soriano induced a fly out in the eighth.

Two other Mexicanos, pitchers Yovani Gallardo and Joakim Soria, did not get into the game. Gallardo, a Milwaukee starter, was injured and unable to pitch for the NL. Soria, who leads the AL in saves with 25 for Kansas City, was in the bullpen if needed but was not called upon.

Monday, July 12, 2010


The Monclova Acereros are making things interesting in the Mexican League’s Zona Madero as the final week of the regular season begins Tuesday. The Steelers have won four straight games to run their second-half record to 30-16, three games behind LMB North-leading Mexico City’s 33-13 mark. The Acereros and Diablos are the two remaining teams in the race for the eight points that come with finishing in first. At the other end of the spectrum, Nuevo Laredo was outscored 49-4 in their six road losses.

In the Zona Hidalgo, Campeche continues their remarkable rebound from a seventh-place first-half finish by leading the LMB South at 27-16, one game ahead of 28-19 Oaxaca. Puebla is finding the second half a harder road to travel after a dominant 37-14 showing in the first half, sitting in third place at 26-22, a half-game ahead of 25-22 Quintana Roo and two up on 23-23 Yucatan.


Despite taking their usual spot near the bottom of the Mexican League’s attendance derby in 2010, the Tabasco Olmecas will be back in Villahermosa’s 10,500-seat Estadio Centenario del 27 de Febrero next year. The Olmecas had drawn 94,364 fans for their first 47 home games this season for an average of 2,007 customers per opening, topping only Nuevo Laredo (1,763 average) and Minatitlan (1,391) among the LMB’s 16 teams.

A Lauro Jimenez story on the Puro Beisbol website reports than during an interview with Radio SuperDeporte, Olmecas council chair Roger Perez said the team’s board of directors has committed to another year in Tabasco (with government support), and that the board hopes to retain Enrique “Che” Reyes as manager for another year. In April, Reyes became the third man to manage the Olmecas this season, following Gustavo Llenas and Daniel Fernandez.


The Obregon Yaquis are bringing back Eddie Diaz as their manager next winter. Diaz, who is currently leading Oaxaca to a berth in the Mexican League playoffs after the Guerreros went 42-63 in 2009, managed Obregon to a 37-30 regular season mark and a first-round playoff win in 2009-10.

A 47-year-old Dominican, Diaz made his pro baseball debut in 1980 with the Yankees' Gulf Coast League team as a 16-year-old pitcher and catcher, turning in a 2-2 record on the mound while batting .200 for the rookie league team. Diaz converted to catcher fulltime in 1981 and spent another season in the GCL with the Braves' team. After not playing in organized baseball in 1982, he spent two more seasons in the Indians' system before wrapping up his North American playing career after the 1984 season. Diaz began managing in Mexico in 1999.

Diaz’ coaching staff in Obregon will include Salon de la Fama member Gerardo Sanchez.


Three Mexican players have been selected for Tuesday’s Major League Baseball All-Star Game in Anaheim but only two will be able to play. Kansas City closer Joakim Soria (pictured)was tabbed to pitch for the American League, while San Diego first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and Milwaukee starter Yovani Gallardo were named to the National League squad. Gallardo will suit up for introductions but kept off the mound after straining his left oblique muscle throwing a pitch in St. Louis last weekend.

A Monclova native, Soria entered the weekend with an American League-best 25 saves for the Royals to go with his 2.34 ERA. He has struck out 43 batters and walked only nine in 34 innings pitched.

Gonzalez, the son of a Mexican national who spent years growing up in Tijuana, is making his third All-Star appearance. He’s hitting .301 with 18 homers in 84 games for the Padres.

Gallardo, who was born in Michoacan, is 8-4 with a 2.58 ERA for the Brewers after going 13-12 in 2009.

Monday, July 5, 2010


Reynosa Broncos left-handed pitcher Azael Alvarez pitched the first no-hitter of the 2010 Mexican League season Saturday night in an 11-0 drubbing of the Chihuahua Dorados in Reynosa. Alvarez’ gem came in a seven-inning doubleheader opener between the two teams at Estadio Adolfo Lopez Mateos.

Alvarez retired the first seven Chihuahua batters he faced until he issued a walk to Carlos Rodriguez in the top of the third inning. He got all the run support he’d need when Jesse Gutierrez stroked an RBI double in the bottom of the first inning and Jose Espinoza added to the cushion with his 3rd homer of the season. Gutierrez hit a two-run homer in a three-run third for the Broncos and the floodgates were fully opened in the fourth when a six-run Reynosa outburst put the game away for good.

With the win, Alvarez evened his season record at 4-4 with a 3.38 ERA. It was the first no-hitter for the Broncos since Reynosa re-entered the LMB in 2009.


A long-standing Mexican League record was obliterated last Thursday in Chihuahua when the host Dorados smoked the Monterrey Sultanes, 7-1. The two teams combined for ten double plays on the night, far surpassing the old LMB record of seven twin-killings set in a 1949 game between Nuevo Laredo and Mexico City and equaled in a 1978 contest between Saltillo and Laguna.

Chihuahua turned six double plays in the game while Monterrey came up with four. Sultanes shortstop Heber Gomez (pictured) had a very long night, grounding into a trio of twofers while Chihuahua catcher Hector Hurtado hit into a pair of DPs.


The Mexican Pacific League held a league meeting last week in Culiacan in which a number of topics were vetted. LMP president Omar Canizales (pictured) said teams would not be able to add reinforcement players to their rosters for the January MexPac playoffs, marking the 13th consecutive winter that rule will be in effect. Canizales also verified that the Caribbean Series would begin on February 2 in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico; televised replays would be used, but only on home run disputes; LMP umpire improvement would continue to be a focus of the league; and that the eight MexPac teams have contributed to a $4 million fund to distribute between the playoff champion and runners-up, with the winner receiving 70%.

The LMP also held its annual player drafts last Wednesday. Lefty pitcher Francisco Esquivel was taken by the Obregon Yaquis as the first pick among domestic players, while right-hander Cecilio Garibaldi was taken second by Hermosillo. In all, 60 Mexican players were selected. In the import draft, Mazatlan led off by tabbing Colombian infielder Jolbert Cabrera and Mexicali followed by picking Cuban pitcher Francisley Bueno. Sixteen extraneros were picked, two by each LMP team.


The scramble to sign international prospects has opened and one young pitcher from Mazatlan stands to become a millionaire when the dust settles. Luis Heredia, who turns 16 in August, is a 6’4” right-hander who throws four pitches, including a 95 MPH fastball and a changeup. Former All-Star second baseman Roberto Alomar has compared Heredia to Stephen Strasburg of the Washington Nationals.

Up to ten teams are said to be interested in the son of Hector Heredia (a pitcher for Monterrey and Yucatan in the 1980s and 1990s who spent a few years in the Dodgers system). The Toronto Blue Jays are reported to have a $2.8 million signing bonus on the table for the younger Heredia, while the Pittsburgh Pirates are said to be offering $2.5 million.

Whoever wins the bid battle for Heredia will have to wait until his 16th birthday to sign him. Unlike other Latin countries, where teenage free agents are truly “free” (to a point), Heredia’s rights in Mexico are owned by the Veracruz Rojos Aguilas, who would have to be compensated for releasing him to an MLB organization.