The Monterrey Sultanes found themselves trailing the Saltillo Saraperos, 6-1, after four innings Tuesday night, but it was nothing that 12 runs over two innings couldn’t solve as the Sultanes went on to beat the defending Mexican League champions by a 14-11 count to take a 2-games-to-1 lead in their Zona Madero title series before 13,292 fans in Saltillo’s Parque Francisco I. Madero.
Christian Quintero and Jesus Cota each clobbered grand slam homers for the Sultanes, who also got solo homers from Adan Amezcua and Chris Roberson (pictured). Monterrey battered Saltillo starter Jose Mercedes along with relievers Cecilio Garibaldi and Esteban Hernandez for 12 runs on 10 hits and three walks in the fifth and sixth innings alone as the Sultanes batted through the order both frames. The Sultanes added another score in the top of the seventh to stretch their lead to 14-6.
To their credit, Saltillo fought back with three runs in the seventh and two more in the eighth to close their deficit to 14-11, but Monterrey closer Julio Manon came on in the eighth with two out and the bases loaded, got Jonathan Aceves to ground into a force out at third to end the inning and held Saltillo scoreless in the bottom of the ninth for his fifth playoff save. Manon’s postseason ERA is now at 1.17.
Monterrey outhit Saltillo, 15-13 for the game. Luis Alfonso Garcia was 3-for-4 for the Sultanes and Willie Romero went 3-for-6 for the Saraperos. Reliever Hugo Castellanos got the win for Monterrey, who used eight pitchers in all, and Garibaldi suffered the loss for Saltillo.
The two clubs will square off Wednesday night for Game Four in Saltillo, with Game Five set for Thursday.