Refugio Cervantes is proving his Mexican League Home Run Derby title this year was no fluke by bashing his sixth playoff homer to lead Saltillo to a 4-3 win over Monterrey Wednesday to knot their LMB North final series at two games apiece while 13,852 watched at Saltillo’s Parque Francisco I. Madero.
Monterrey manufactured a run in the top of the first when leadoff batter Chris Roberson walked, moved to second on an error and scored on Luis Alfonso Garcia’s single to center. Saltillo evened the score at 1-1 in the third when Jonathan Aceves singled, stole second and came around to score on Willie Romero’s two-out single. Cervantes lined his homer to left field in the fourth to put the Saraperos back in front, but Augie Murillo led off the fifth for Monterrey with a homer and the Sultanes added one more in the frame when Roberson singled in Carlos Orrantia to make it a 3-2 lead for Monterrey.
Saltillo came back to tie the game in the sixth on Jesus Cota’s RBI triple, and Carlos Eduardo Gonzalez put the defending champs ahead for good on a Jose Rodriguez sacrifice fly in the seventh. Travis Minix got the win with three scoreless innings in relief of Saltillo starter Fernando Villalobos. Pablo Menchaca took the loss for Monterrey.
The two sides will square off once more for Game Five in Saltillo Thursday night before the series shifts back to Monterrey for Game Six on Saturday.
QUINTERO’S TWO-RUN BLAST PACES OAXACA’S GAME THREE WIN
Christian Quintero (pictured) hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth to give his Oaxaca Guerreros a 3-2 lead and closer Yoel Hernandez turned in a 1-2-3 ninth inning to preserve Oaxaca’s Game Three win over the Puebla Pericos Wednesday night as 7,431 looked on at Estadio Eduardo Vasconcelos.
It was a well-pitched ballgame in which starters Omar Espinoza of Puebla and Oaxaca’s Francisco Rosario each had shutouts going into the sixth inning. Rosario lost his on a two-run double to Valentin Gamez in the top of the inning, while Espinoza’s string of goose eggs was halted in the bottom of the frame when Jolbert Cabrera came in from third on a double-play grounder to shortstop by Quintero to bring the Guerreros to a 2-1 deficit, leading to Quintero’s heroics two innings later.
Hernandez got the win for Oaxaca with two shutout innings, while Puebla reliever Jose Cobos saw his playoff record fall to 0-2 after serving up Quintero’s blast.
The Guerreros will take a 2-games-to-1 lead in the LMB South finals into Thursday night’s Game Four in Oaxaca.