Monday, August 2, 2010

MEXICAN LEAGUE PLAYOFFS: August 2, 2010

TENTH-INNING ERRORS HANDS PUEBLA 7-6 WIN, TWO GAME SERIES LEAD

Anyone who has followed baseball for any length of time knows that yesterday’s stud can be today’s goat. Oaxaca’s Victor Mercedes provided an object lesson Monday night when he committed a throwing error that allowed Puebla’s Miguel Torrero to score the winning run in the bottom of the tenth inning, giving the Pericos a 7-6 victory over the Guerreros in Game Two of their Mexican League Zona Hidalgo title series in front of 9,989 spectators at Puebla’s Estadio Hermanos Serdan.

Oaxaca went up 1-0 in the top of the first on Mercedes’ RBI single, but Puebla responded with three counters in the bottom of the inning as Luis Suarez bashed a two-run homer. A Jaime Brena double scored Juan Carlos Canizalez in the second for Oaxaca to tie the score at 2-2, but in the bottom of the frame Serafin Rodriguez cracked a three-run shot to left for the Pericos, giving Puebla a 5-2 lead.

Horacio Vasquez singled in Canizalez with Oaxaca’s third run in the top of the fourth, but the Pericos matched that in the bottom of the fifth when Suarez led off with a double and later scored on Torrero’s single to make it a 6-3 Puebla advantage. However, Oaxaca fought back for two runs in the sixth on run-scoring singles by Erick Rodriguez and Jolbert Carera, and then tied the game at 3-all in the seventh on Brena’s RBI safety to right field.

The score remained 3-3 into the bottom of the tenth, when Torrero hit a one-out single off Oaxaca closer Yoel Hernandez and moved to third on a Valentin Gamez single, bringing up Ivan Cervantes. After a pickoff attempt to first by Hernandez, Cervantes hit a grounder on the first pitch to Mercedes at third, who overthrew first baseman Cabrera, allowing Torrero to motor home from third to end the game. Mercedes was the hero in Oaxaca’s Game Seven win over Quintana Roo after hitting a bases-loaded series-winning single in the bottom of the ninth on Friday, but he put on the horns Monday night.

Suarez led Puebla at the plate with a 4-for-5 night while Rodriguez had three hits. Brena turned in three hits for the Guerreros. Puebla reliever Luis Ramirez earned the win while Hernandez took the loss. Puebla will take a 2-0 series lead into Game Three Wednesday night in Oaxaca.

SULTANES, SARAPEROS SPLIT FIRST TWO LMB NORTH FINAL GAMES

Chris Roberson (pictured sliding into second base) stroked a three-run double as part of a five-run Monterrey uprising in the seventh inning Sunday night as the Sultanes went on to beat Saltillo, 5-2, in front of over 22,000 fans at Estadio Monterrey in Game Two of the Mexican League Zona Madero finals. Saltillo shut out Monterrey, 4-0, in Saturday’s opener as Hector Daniel Rodriguez threw six scoreless innings for the defending champion Saraperos on the heels of his no-hitter against Mexico City in the first round.

Saltillo overcame a 3-games-to-1 deficit against the Diablos Rojos by winning three straight contests (two in Mexico City), including an 11-4 pasting of the Diablos last Wednesday night. Monterrey had an easier time of it in the first round, beating Chihuahua in five games as Sultanes pitcher Edgar Gonzalez let in just one Dorados run in 14 innings over two starts.The Saraperos and Sultanes move to Saltillo for Game Three on Tuesday night.

PERICOS COP FIRST GAME OF LMB SOUTH FINAL AGAINST OAXACA

Cesar Tapia broke open a pitcher’s duel with a three-run homer in the fifth inning Sunday night to pace the Puebla Pericos to a 6-2 win over the Oaxaca Guerreros in Game one of their LMB South final series before 8,112 fanaticos at Puebla’s Estadio Hermanos Serdan. Puebla starter Lorenzo Barcelo and his Oaxaca counterpart, Sergio Valenzuela, were locked up in a 2-1 ballgame when Valenzuela served his gopher ball to Tapia. The Pericos took their 4-2 lead and never looked back.

Puebla eliminated Yucatan in six games in their Zona Hidalgo semifinal, capping off the series with a 4-3 win last Thursday night at home. Oaxaca had to go all seven games to get past Quintana Roo in an emotional first round matchup. Victor Mercedes (pictured) struck the death blow for the Guerreros with a ninth-inning, bases-loaded walk-off (enough hyphens there?) single in last Friday’s 5-4 deciding win.

Game Two of the LMB South final is set for Monday night in Puebla.

MEXICO TAKES BASEBALL SILVER MEDAL AT CENTRAL AMERICAN GAMES

The Mexican National Baseball Team played in the Central American & Caribbean Games last week in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico and the Verdes Grande returned home with silver medals after finishing second in the competition under manager Enrique “Che” Reyes.

After dropping their first contest to Nicaragua, 5-2, on July 24, Mexico won two games the next day, taking a 3-2 victory over the Dutch Antilles before slipping past the Dominican Republic, 2-1. A 7-0 pounding of Panama on July 26 vaulted Mexico into the semifinals of the tournament.

The Mexicans shocked host Puerto Rico, 1-0, on July 27 as Ivan Araujo scored the game-winner in the top of the ninth inning. Mexico’s win streak ended at four in the July 28 title game, however, as the Dominicans gained both revenge and the gold with a 3-2 win despite Emmanuel Valdez’ RBI double in the eighth inning. Francisco Campos took the loss for Mexico, whose pitchers allowed just eleven runs over six games (and only six tallies in their last five outings).

MACHEMER HOPING TO BRING OLD MAGIC BACK TO MEXICALI

Former major league infielder Dave Machemer will manage the Mexicali Aguilas this winter in the Mexican Pacific League. Machemer is returning to Mexicali 22 years after he led the Aguilas to their second Mex Pac pennants and an appearance in the Caribbean Series in 1988-89. Mexicali has won just one flag since.

Machemer homered in his first MLB at-bat for California in 1978 but otherwise had a brief career in the majors, hitting .229 in 29 games for the Angels and Detroit between 1978 and 1979. The 59-year-old Missouri native has been far more successful as a minor league manager, winning over 1.400 games and two pennants (with Stockton in the California League in 1986 and the AZL Giants in the Arizona Rookie League in 2008) since 1985.

He’s currently managing the Giants’ Class A South Atlantic League affiliate in Augusta, GA.