The defending Caribbean Series champion Obregon Yaquis continued their march toward a second straight CS crown with a 3-2 win over the Guasave Algodoneros in the opening game of the Mexican Pacific League title series Saturday night in front of 13,976 fans at a jam-packed Estadio Tomas Oroz Gaytan.
Karim Garcia (pictured) crashed a two-out solo homer to center field off Cottoneers starter James Avery in the bottom of the first to draw first blood in the series, and a leadoff solo blast by Sergio Contreras off Avery in the third gave the Yaquis a 2-0 lead. Guasave fought back in the top of the fourth when Daryle Ward singled up the middle off Obregon opener Luis Mendoza to bring in Leo Heras from third and make it a one-run contest. After two scoreless innings, Algodoneros slugger Japhet Amador bashed a Mendoza delivery for a solo bomb over the center field wall to knot the game up at 2-2.
The Yaquis got the one more run they’d eventually need for the win in the bottom of the seventh. Adrian C. Ramirez, who pitched for the Yaquis in the CS last year, came on in relief for Guasave and gave up a leadoff single to Carlos Valencia. After inducing Conteras to bunt a pop-up to Cottoneers catcher Jose Felix, Ramirez let up an Agustin Murillo single before giving way to Mauricio Lara. Lara got Corey Wimberley to fly out to right to make it two gone, but then he walked Alfredo Amezaga, bringing up Garcia with the bases loaded.
Karim, who’s only been hitting .182 in the postseason for the Yaquis, watched one strike and swung for another to dig himself an 0-2 hole in the count, but Lara then threw four straight balls to walk Valencia in from third for the game-winner.
Mendoza got the win for Obregon after tossing seven innings of two-run ball while Luis Ayala earned his fifth playoff save with 1.1 frames of scoreless pitching. Ramirez absorbed the loss for Guasave.
The two teams play again Sunday night before the series shifts to Guasave for Game Three Tuesday.