Rodrigo Aguirre (pictured) hit an RBI double in the top of the 14th inning to provide the Reynosa Broncos their margin of victory in a 5-4 knucklebiter over the Puebla Pericos Thursday night before 6,435 fans at Puebla’s Estadio Hermanos Serdan. With the win, the 37-25 Broncos maintained their slim one-game lead in the Mexican League Northern Zone over the 36-26 Mexico City Diablos Rojos, who kept pace with a 6-5 squeaker in Saltillo. Puebla, last season’s LMB South champion, fell to 29-30 for the year.
The Pericos jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the first, courtesy of two-run homers by All-Star Game Home Run Derby champ Mendy Lopez and Omar de la Torre off Broncos starter Rudy Gonzalez, but Reynosa scored two runs in the fourth when Marshall McDougall doubled in Eduardo Arredondo and came around to score on an Adan Munoz single, then tied the game in the seventh after Munoz scored on a Yurendell de Caster ground out and Jesse Gutierrez came in from third on a Domingo Castro single.
The two teams traded zeros until the top of the 14th, when Gutierrez led off with a single against Puebla reliever Adolfo Delfin, who had allowed one hit in three innings to that point. Gutierrez was replaced by pinch-runner Eduardo Arroyo, who advanced to second on a de Caster sacrifice bunt before scoring the go-ahead run on Aguirre’s double. Francisco Rivera then retired Puebla 1-2-3 with two strikeouts in the bottom of the 14th to preserve the win, whiffing Lopez swinging to end the contest.
The comeback and late-inning heroics were emblematic of a Reynosa team projected to only have an outside shot at making a playoff berth this season, as manager Lorenzo Bundy’s Broncos have won six of their last ten to stay ahead of hard-charging Mexico City, who has won their last five games. The Broncos will be home in Reynosa to open a crossover series with Oaxaca Saturday night. The 33-26 Guerreros are locked in a three-way battle for the LMB South lead, trailing 36-26 Quintana Roo and 35-27 Veracruz, another surprise team this year. The Diablos will be back at Foro Sol tonight for a return series with struggling Saltillo. The defending two-time champ Saraperos are ten games under .500 at 26-36 and have lost six straight.