Saturday, August 27, 2011


An unlikely hero emerged from the bullpen and Carlos Gastelum’s grand slam in the seventh inning busted open a tied game as the Quintana Roo Tigres polished off the Mexico City Diablos, 13-9, Friday at Foro Sol to complete a four-game sweep of their rivals and win the franchise’s tenth Mexican League pennant since 1955.

Both teams were putting runs on the board in the early going as Gastelum homered in the first inning and Doug Clark went deep in the third and the two most storied teams in Mexican baseball battled to a 5-5 tie heading into the fourth inning. Enter Jorge Campillo (pictured) in relief of Tigres starter Enrique Lechuga.

Campillo, a former MLB pitcher with Seattle and Atlanta who has fought with injuries over the years, turned in four superlative relief innings for manager Matias Carrillo’s side, blanking the potent Diablos on one hit in four innings of work, just long enough for Gastelum to swat his second homer of the night in Quintana Roo’s five-run seventh, breaking the tie and sending the Tigres to a win and a pennant. Mexico City’s Luis Terrero scored on a Ivan Terrazas double off Eder Llamas to close the gap to 8-6 in the eighth, but Albino Contreras bashed a three-run homer in the top of the ninth to stretch the Tigres’ lead to 11-6. The Red Devils put another three scores on the board in the bottom of the ninth, but they went for naught.

Gastelum ended up with five RBIs and Sergio Contreras batted 5-for-5 for Quintana Roo. Alexis Gomez and Leo Heras both had three hits for Mexico City with Gomez driving in three runs. Campillo won his first playoff game while Salvador Robles took the loss for the Diablos. The pennant is the first for the Tigres in Cancun and for Carrillo as a skipper.

Friday, August 26, 2011


Iker Franco went 2-for-3 with four RBIs while Willie Romero reached base five times, scored twice and drove in two more runs as the Quintana Roo Tigres outlasted the Mexico City Diablos Rojos, 9-6, Thursday night before 23,553 fans at Foro Sol in the capital city. With the victory, the Cancun club took a commanding 3 games to 0 lead in the Mexican League championship series.

The contest was tied at 4-4 when Quintana Roo broke out for three runs in the top of the seventh inning as Red Devils reliever Federico Castaneda opened the frame by plunking Albino Contreras, giving up a Carlos Gastelum single and walking Sergio Contreras before making way on the mound for Martin Sotelo, who promptly walked Romero on five pitches to push across the go-ahead run. Arturo Lopez then replaced Sotelo, but after getting Doug Clark to line out to right, Sotelo dished up a two-run single to Franco to make it a 7-4 game.

The Diablos got two runs back in the bottom of the inning when Juan Sandoval came in to pitch for the Tigres with one runner on base and allowed a Luis Alfonso Cruz single before walking three straight batters to send two runners across the plate before Sandy Nin (pictured) came out of the pen to get pinch-hitter Mario Valdez to strike out looking to end the threat. Nin pitched the rest of the way for his sixth playoff save. Pedro Castellano led off the eighth with a homer off Jean Machi, who then induced two Quintana Roo outs before giving up consecutive doubles to Carlos Gastelum and Sergio Contreras to bring the score to its eventual 9-6 final margin.

Game 4 of the championship series was scheduled for Friday in Mexico City.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Pablo Ortega combined with two relievers to outpitch Marco Quevedo and three others as the Quintana Roo Tigres squeaked past the Mexico City Diablos Rojos, 1-0, Monday night before a sellout crowd of 7,607 at Cancun’s Estadio Beto Avila. With the win, the Tigres took a 2 games to 0 lead over their ancient rivals in the Mexican League championship series.

Iker Franco’s single in the bottom of the second inning drove in Willie Romero with the game’s only run for Quintana Roo as Ortega turned in yet another strong outing on the mound, giving manager Matias Carrillo seven innings of scoreless pitching while scattering six hits and one walk while striking out five Diablos before giving way to Juan Sandoval. Liga saves leader Sandy Nin came on in the ninth and held Mexico City scoreless in picking up his fifth save of the playoffs.

For his part, Quevedo was able to keep pace with Ortega in his 5.1 innings of work, letting in the one run on four hits, although control problems led to four walks and a pitch count of 97 before being pulled in the sixth. Although Orlando Lara walked the one batter he faced before Diablos skipper Mako Oliveras yanked him, Federico Castaneda and Jean Machi limited the Tigres to two hits the rest of the way, so pitching wasn’t the problem for Mexico City…Ortega was as the 34-year-old righty took his third postseason win in four decisions while lowering his playoff ERA to 1.13. Of his 96 pitches, 71 went for strikes. If the Tigres go on to win the pennant, Ortega should be a prime contender for Playoff MVP.

The two teams will take Tuesday off to travel to Mexico City, where Game 3 is slated for Foro Sol on Wednesday.

Monday, August 22, 2011


Five players collected two hits apiece while Mexico City starter Roberto Ramirez was chased after less than two innings as the Quintana Roo Tigres walloped the Diablos Rojos, 8-2, Sunday in the opening game of the Mexican League championship series in Cancun.

Iker Franco singled and homered while Willie Romero and Doug Clark (pictured) both singled and doubled as the Tigres scored five runs in the first inning and another two in the second to take a 7-1 lead they never came close to relinquishing. Ramirez was manhandled for all seven runs on eight hits and a walk in 1.1 innings, although to be fair, only two of those runs were earned. Nerio Rodriguez, normally a starter since signing with Mexico City last month, came on in relief of Ramirez and let in no runs through the fifth, but the damage was already done. Francisco Cordoba earned the win for Quintana Roo.

The scheduled title set opener was washed out Sunday. The two teams will meet again tonight in Cancun as Marco Quevedo starts for Mexico City against Pablo Ortega of the Tigres.

Friday, August 19, 2011


In what must be a dream matchup among longtime Mexican baseball fans, the Mexico City Diablos Rojos will face the Quintana Roo Tigres in the Mexican League championship series. The two teams shared ballparks in the nation’s capital for over four decades, and have remained fierce rivals even after the Tigres left Mexico City in 2002. The Diablos have won 15 Liga pennants while the Tigres was copped nine flags since 1955.

Monterrey forced Mexico City into a seventh game in their LMB North final series before the Diablos prevailed, 4-1, on Wednesday. Miguel Duarte and Jean Machi combined to scatter seven Sultanes hits with 12 strikeouts while Luis Alfonso Cruz went 4-for-4 with a run and RBI and Carlos Valencia socked a solo homer. Monterrey overcame a 3 to 1 series deficit by winning 10-4 last Sunday as Edgar Quintero doubled, singled twice and drove in three runs, then drubbed the Diablos, 17-6, Tuesday night with Chris Roberson going 4-for-5 with a triple, homer and three ribbies.

The Tigres punched their ticket to the LMB finals by eliminating Veracruz, 4-2, in Game 6 Wednesday in Cancun. 5’7” pitcher Jose Ramirez combined with two relievers to limit the Aguilas to seven hits for his third postseason win while Albino Contreras was one single shy of hitting for the cycle, scoring twice and whacking a two-run homer. Quintana Roo was trailing 2 games to 1 before reeling off wins on three consecutive nights: a 3-1 triumph Monday behind Enrique Lechuga’s six innings of six-hit ball followed by a 4-3 thriller in 11 innings Tuesday when Doug Clark scored from second on a Jaime Trejo single and a throwing error by Aguilas left fielder Jose Orozco and Sandy Nin pitched three perfect innings in relief for the win.

The title series opens Saturday in Cancun. The Tigres have home field advantage because the Southern Zone won the All-Star Game at Saltillo in May.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


A man considered by many to be the greatest third baseman in the history of the Mexican League has passed away. Leo Rodriguez, who was voted into the Salon de la Fama in 1980, died Tuesday morning at the age of 82.

Rodriguez broke into the LMB with Union Laguna as a 19-year-old in 1949, batting .300 in 86 games. He went on to spend five years in Torreon, batting .280 or better four times and topping the .300 mark twice. Rodriguez then spent 1954 with Cananea of the Arizona-Texas League, where he hit an amazing .430 with 259 hits in 141 games and after hitting .385 and .349 the next two seasons for the Mexico City Tigres, went on to play four years with Hollywood and Columbus in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ minor league system between 1957 and 1960 (batting between .268 and .292.

Rodriguez returned to the Mexican League for good in 1961 and played five years with the Mexico City Diablos Rojos, batting .301 or better every year while never striking out more than 33 times a season. Not a power hitter, Rodriguez only hit 82 homers in his career, but he was a .315 career hitter in 13 LMB seasons and was a superb fielder. He played for three Liga pennant winners (Laguna in 1950, Tigres in 1955 and Diablos in 1964) and was player-manager for Hermosillo’s Mexican League champs in 1963-64. After retiring as a player, Rodriguez spent years coaching with the Monterrey Sultanes.

A moment of silence was held in honor of Rodriguez before Tuesday night’s Sultanes-Diablos game at Foro Sol.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Hector Paez (pictured) drove in Victor Diaz from first with a two-out, pinch-hit double to right field in the top of the ninth inning to give the Veracruz Aguilas a 7-6 lead over Quintana Roo that reliever Jailen Peguero preserved in the bottom of the frame to even the Mexican League Southern Zone Final series at a game apiece Friday night in Cancun.

The Aguilas had a 6-3 lead over the Tigres until Quintana Roo tied the game up in the bottom of the seventh on consecutive RBI hits from Doug Clark, Willie Romero and Albino Contreras. Peguero, who came in after Clark’s double, then retired Kevin Flores and Jaime Trejo to end the seventh and struggled through a scoreless eighth before Paez’ heroics in the ninth stanza. Game 3 of the series is set for Sunday in Veracruz.

A crowd of 23,537 attended Friday’s LMB North Final Game 3 in Monterrey as the Sultanes defeated Mexico City, 7-4, as Edgar Quintero went 3-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs for the winning team. Sergio Perez, who hit just three regular season homers, went yard twice for Monterrey to back pitchers Dan Serafini and Juan Delgadillo.

The Diablos came back one night later and outlasted the Sultanes, 5-4, as Mexico City starter Marco Quevedo gave up just one hit in 5.2 shutout innings and Mario Valenzuela doubled in two runs in the fifth. The Diablos were up 5-1 in the ninth before Monterrey scored three runs off Mexico City closer Jean Machi to make it a one-run contest, but Machi got Sandy Madera to hit into a fielder’s choice to end the contest. The Diablos now lead the series, 3 games to 1.

Friday, August 12, 2011


Another day, another dandy outing for Pablo Ortega. The Quintana Roo Tigres veteran pitcher, who authored a no-hitter in his last regular season start, tossed six innings of three-hit shutout ball Thursday night as the Tigres blanked the Veracruz Aguilas, 10-0, in Cancun in Game 1 of the Mexican League Southern Zone Finals.

Even though he only allowed two walks, Ortega did have to work a bit for his second playoff win in three decisions, delivering 95 pitches before making way for reliever Enrique Gomez in the seventh inning. The Tigres got all the runs they’d need in the third when Carlos Gastelum singled in Jaime Trejo and Carlos Sievers plated Gastelum on a line-drive double to center, but a Willie Romero (pictured) fifth inning grand slam made it an 8-0 Quintana Roo lead thar effectively salted the game away.

Meanwhile in the LMB North Finals, Mexico City took a 2 games to 0 lead over Monterrey with a 10-3 whacking of the Sultanes Wednesday night at Foro Sol. Luis Alfonso Cruz belted his fourth postseason homer with a three-run shot, while Luis Terrero added a three-run bomb of his own and Ivan Terrazas stroked a two-run longball in support of starter Nerio Rodriguez, who let in one run on four hits in five innings.

On Friday, Veracruz will visit Cancun and Mexico City plays in Monterrey. The Sultanes host the Diablos Saturday.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


If there’s a “cover curse” on Baseball Mexico covers like there supposedly is on Sports Illustrated, nobody’s told Geronimo Gil.

The Mexico City Diablos Rojos veteran, who graces the front page of the BBM Mexican League 2011 Season Guide, delivered a bases-loaded single in the bottom of the 11th inning to hand the Red Devils a 6-5 win over Monterrey in Game 1 of the LMB North final Tuesday at Foro Sol.

Mexico City was actually being handed a 5-0 shutout in the bottom of the ninth when skipper Mako Oliveras sent in Oscar Robles, Mario Valdez and Mario Valenzuela consecutively as pinch-hitters. Although Robles struck out, Valdez and Valenzuela both walked (with Ivan Terrazas scoring on a Ricardo Rincon wild pitch) to set up Luis Alfonso Cruz’ two-run single, a Luis Terrero RBI single and a game-tying Gil sacrifice fly that plated Cruz and sent the contest into extra frames.

In the LMB South semifinals, Campeche whacked Veracruz, 6-2, Monday night as Victor Diaz and Cesar Suarez hit solo homers for the Aguilas but Veracruz could muster only four more hits as the Piratas forced a Game 7. That one went Veracruz’ way by a 6-3 count, as Diaz and Suarez each homered for the second night in a row to put the Aguilas in the LMB South final against Quintana Roo. The Tigres eliminated Oaxaca in six games, including a 9-1 clincher in Cancun Sunday.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


The Mexican League Northern Zone finalists have been determined. Mario Valdez (pictured) swatted a walkoff two-run homer to give Mexico City a 7-5 victory over Puebla Saturday, handing the Diablos a 4 games to 2 win in their series. Mexico City will face Monterrey, who dispatched Reynosa, 8-4, in Game Six on Saturday thanks to a four-run ninth keyed by Chris Roberson’s two-run single.

In the LMB South, Ruben Rivera’s grand slam helped Campeche take a 9-5 win at Veracruz Saturday after Hector Hernandez’ RBI single in the ninth gave the Aguilas a 3-2 win Friday. The Piratas lead 3 games to 2 going into Monday’s game in Campeche. Oaxaca stayed alive with a 2-1 win over Quintana Roo Friday as Sergio Gastelum homered. The Tigres are up 3 to 2 as the teams meet today in Cancun.

Friday, August 5, 2011


Mexico City leads Puebla, 3 games to 2, after beating the Pericos 8-5 Thursday night with Luis Alfonso Cruz belting his third homer in the series, a three-run shot in the top of the second off Andres Meza. Puebla took a 7-5 win Wednesday, overcoming a 5-3 deficit with four sixth-inning runs as Serafin Rodriguez’ two-run single put the Pericos ahead.

Reynosa broke open a tie with five runs in the top of the ninth to outlast Monterrey, 14-9, Thursday night. Marshall McDougall hit two homers and doubled for the Broncos, who trail the Sultanes in the series, 3 games to 2. Monterrey copped a 7-2 win Wednesday as Sandy Madera homered, doubled and singled for the Sultanes.

Quintana Roo held off Oaxaca, 5-3, Thursday to go up 3 games to 1 in their set. Enrique Legucha pitched six innings of one-run ball for the TIgres while Willie Romero homered and drove in two. The Guerreros overcame a 3-1 deficit with four unanswered runs in a 6-3 win over the Tigres Wednesday night. Kevin Barker was 2-for-4 with a homer and three RBIS.

Campeche won a 7-5 nailbiter at Veracruz Thursday despite being outhit by a 16-9 margin. The Piratas scored four in the ninth to go up 7-2, and then held on as the Aguilas scored three of their own to close the gap before they ran out of outs. Veracruz still leads their rain-delayed series, 2 games to 1.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


The Reynosa Broncos averted a potential sweep in their first round series by scoring seven third-inning runs en route to a 10-8 road win in Monterrey Tuesday night. Marshall McDougall’s two-run double was followed by a Jesse Gutierrez (pictured) three-run homer two batters later as the Broncos pulled to within 2 games to 1 of the Sultanes, who host Game 4 tonight.

Mexico City took a 2-games-to-1 lead over Puebla by posting four runs in the top of the first (with Luis Alfonso Cruz cracking a two-run homer) and backing up a solid start from Nerio Rodriguez in Tuesday’s 4-1 win in Puebla. Rodriguez tossed seven innings of four-hit, one-run ball against the Pericos as the Diablos took a 2-to-1 series lead.

Veracruz and Campeche finally got the first games of their series in. The Aguilas opened with a 10-4 victory Monday night in Campeche as Jorge Guzman and Victor Diaz cracked two of four homers on the night for Veracruz to support Joel Vargas for the win. On Tuesday, Enrique Quintanilla hurled four scoreless innings in relief to combine with six other Veracruz pitchers on a seven-hitter in a 4-2 Aguilas win. The series moves to Veracruz for the next three scheduled games.

Meanwhile, Game 3 of the Quintana Roo-Oaxaca series was postponed by rain Tuesday night. They’ll try again Wednesday night with the Tigres holding a 2-games-to-0 lead in the set.

Monday, August 1, 2011


Veteran outfielder Doug Clark homered in two games while pitchers Pablo Ortega and Jose Ramirez were sharp as the Quintana Roo Tigres took wins in both contests at home in Cancun.

Clark socked a three-run homer and Carlos Gastelum belted a solo shot Saturday in Quintana Roo’s 8-3 triumph over Oaxaca as Ortega scattered four hits and one run in six innings for the win. Clark and Albino Contreras rapped homers off Guerreros starter Sergio Valenzuela in Sunday’s 4-2 Tigres win behind the 5’7” Ramirez.

Puebla and Mexico City split two games at Foro Sol. The Pericos clobbered the Diablos, 16-9, Saturday as Luis Suarez had four hits for Puebla and Mexico City starter Roberto Ramirez gave up nine runs in 2.2 innings. The Red Devils took a 9-2 win Sunday with Luis Terrero’s two-run homer highlighted a four-run Diablos second inning.

Sandy Madera’s three-run homer in the seventh was a key blow in Monterrey’s 6-2 win in Reynosa Saturday night as Broncos starter Marco Tovar was touched for six runs in seven innings, while Chris Roberson and Sergio Perez each had four hits in the Sultanes’ 9-2 victory Sunday as Francisley Bueno tossed seven frames of one-run ball for Monterrey’s second win.

While the other three series all got their first two games in, the Veracruz-Campeche first round was washed out both nights in Campeche. They’ll try to get a game in Monday night while everyone else is taking the day off to travel to the lower seed cities.