Francisco Liriano outdueled Edgar Gonzalez (pictured) as the Escogido Leones scored runs on infield groundouts in the first and ninth innings to defeat the Obregon Yaquis, 2-0, Sunday night to clinch at least a share of the 2012 Caribbean Series title for the Dominican champions. With two games left to play, Escogido has a perfect 4-0 record, including a pair of wins over the Mexican Pacific League champions, who are 2-2.
Escogido scored their first run when Jose Constanza opened the game with a walk, stole second base, moved to third on a fielding error of a Pablo Ozuna grounder by Yaquis first sacker Barbaro Canizares and came in to score on an Andy Dirks groundout to Obregon shortstop Alfredo Amezaga.
That 1-0 lead was all Liriano and the Leones would need in this one. Liriano, who has fought injuries and inconsistency the past four summers for the Minnesota Twins after going 12-3 with a 2.16 ERA in his 2006 rookie season, tossed five shutout innings for the Leones to eventually collect the win. The 28-year-old lefty allowed four hits and as many walks, but the Yaquis couldn’t bunch enough of them together to push a run across the plate.
Escogido tacked on an insurance run in the ninth when pinch-runner Freddy Guzman replaced Mauro Gomez after Mario Mendoza Jr. walked Gomez to begin the inning, then stole second, moved to third on Erick Almonte’s groundout to Canizales at first and scored on Fernando Tatis’ tapper to Yaquis third baseman Agustin Murillo (who had to throw to first to retire Tatis because he couldn’t make a play on Guzman). Jairo Asencio retired Obregon in order on six pitches in the bottom of the ninth for his third CS save.
For his part, Gonzalez had a strong outing for the Yaquis as the Colorado Rockies hurler let up just two singles in six innings. Five relievers combines to allow just two hits and one run over the final three frames, but Obregon’s anemic offense could gather only five base hits themselves while batting 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position. Doug Clark had two singles for the Yaquis while Canizales, Chris Roberson and Karim Garcia each singled once, but it just wasn’t Obregon’s night at the plate. As a team, the Yaquis lead the pitching-dominated CS with a .266 batting average, but the breaks weren’t there Sunday.
Obregon has two games to play in Santo Domingo: Monday at 3PM local time against Puerto Rico’s Mayaguez (1-3) Indios, and Tuesday at 3PM versus Venezuela’s Aragua (1-3) Tigres.