A clutch pitching performance by Cecilio Garibaldi in the ninth inning capped a 6-4 Saltillo win over Monterrey Saturday night, giving the Saraperos a 4-to-2 Zona Madero final series win and a berth in the Mexican League championship series. With 24,385 attendees in Estadio Monterrey looking on, Garibaldi struck out the Sultanes’ Agustin Murillo on three pitches with the bases loaded to end the game.
Chris Roberson scored the game’s first run for Monterrey by leading off the bottom of the first inning with a double and later coming around to score on a two-out single up the middle by Luis Alfonso Garcia. Saltillo tied the game at 1-1 on Jose Rodriguez’ leadoff homer in the fourth and went ahead one inning later on Jesus Cota’s solo round-tripper. The Saraperos padded their lead with two runs in the top of the seventh as Carlos Eduardo Gonzalez plated a run on Rodriguez’ sacrifice fly and Willie Romero glided in to score on a sharply hit single by Gabriel Martinez, making it a 4-1 ballgame.
The Sultanes made a comeback in the seventh when both Mendy Lopez and Humberto Cota rapped RBI doubles, but Saltillo reliever Mario Mendoza. Jr. got the final out with the bases loaded to end the inning. The Saraperos added some insurance in the ninth on a Gonzalez RBI single and made it 6-3 when Jesus Cota streaked home from third on a Julio Manon wild pitch.
Monterrey made a last-gasp effort in the bottom of the ninth, putting the first three batsmen on base. Garcia drilled an RBI single to bring the Sultanes to within two runs. Alejandro Garrido struck out Edgar Quintero before Garibaldi came in to get Humberto Cota on a pop-up to short before the series-ending Murillo strikeout.
The Saraperos will next play the winner of the Puebla-Oaxaca series for the pennant.
CABRERA WALKOFF HOMER KEEPS OAXACA ALIVE
A solo homer by ex-big leaguer Jolbert Cabrera in the bottom of the ninth inning gave Oaxaca a 5-4 win over Puebla Saturday, completing a game that had been suspended by rain in the middle of the fourth frame Friday night. The walkoff blast in front of 7,523 screaming fans at Oaxaca’s Parque Eduardo Vasconcelos kept the Guerreros alive in the Mexican League Zona Hidalgo title series, although Puebla still leads by a 3-games-to-2 margin.
The game picked up where it left off Friday with the score tied at 2-2. The Pericos nudged into the lead on Ricardo Serrano’s RBI double in the top of the sixth, and padded their advantage to 4-2 in the eighth on a Serrano run-scoring single. Oaxaca pulled into a 4-4 tie with two in the bottom of the frame when Eloy Gutierrez doubled home Alejandro Gonzalez and then scored on Juan Canizalez’ single.
Oaxaca closer Yoel Hernandez wriggled out of a jam in the ninth. With runners at the corners and only one out, he was able to coax consecutive pop-ups to second by Ivan Cervantes and Serafin Rodriguez to end the Puebla threat. The game came down to Cabrera’s at-bat against Puebla’s LMB saves leader Luis Ramirez. On a 1-1 count, Cabrera clouted his game-winner over the left field wall and was carried off the field by jubilant teammates (pictured). Hernandez got the win, while Ramirez took the loss.
The series now shifts to Puebla’s Estadio Hermanos Serdan for Game Six. Andres Meza will start for the Pericos on Sunday while Francisco Rosario takes the hill for Oaxaca.