Friday, August 19, 2011

OLD RIVALS TIGRES, DIABLOS TO MEET IN LIGA TITLE SERIES

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.