Obregon and Mazatlan went deep into extra innings in a pitchers' duel in one Game Five in the Mexican Pacific League semifinals Friday night, while Mexicali took advantage of Navojoa's penchant for self-destruction with three unearned runs in a crazy 4-3 Aguilas win on the Mayos' home turf in the other Final Four battle.
MAZATLAN 3-9-1, Obregon 2-7-1 (13)
W-R. Espinosa (1-0). L-M. Carrillo (1-1). T-4:36. A-9,897.
Spectators at Mazatlan's Estadio Teodoro Mariscal had another thriller as the Venados and visiting Obregon took a 2-2 ballgame into the 13th inning before a wild pitch gave Mazatlan a 3-2 win. The Yaquis drew first blood in the top of the first inning when Justin Greene came in from third on Max Ramirez' sacrifice fly to right field, giving Obregon a 1-0 lead. The score stood until the bottom of the sixth, when Mazatlan pinch-hitter Carlos Munoz stroked a two-out, two-run single off Obregon starter Arturo Lopez to give the Venados a 2-1 advantage. The Yaquis came right back in the top of the seventh when Daniel Castro drilled a double off Mazatlan reliever Kenneth Sigman to plate Alfredo Amezaga with the game-tying run. And that's where the scoring stopped until the bottom of the 13th.
Olmo Rosario popped a leadoff single for the Venados, then moved to second on Munoz' sacrifice bunt. Obregon reliever Marco Carrillo intentionally walked Paul Leon (pictured) to get to Jose Felix, who then singled to left. Rosario rounded third but was cut down at the plate on a throw from Leo Heras while Leon advanced to third. Then, with a 1-and-2 count on Jesus Fabela, Carrillo uncorked a wild pitch that brought Leon streaking home with the game-winner.
Regular season ERA champ Alejandro Soto was merely terrific for Mazatlan, pitching six innings and allowing one run on three hits while throwing strikes on 64 of 92 pitches, good for seven strikeouts. Five Venados relievers combined to hold Obregon scoreless over the final six innings, with Roberto Espinosa getting the win. Lopez went 5.2 frames for the Yaquis, letting in two counters on four hits. Nine men trotted out from the Obregon bullpen to hold Mazatlan scoreless from the sixth inning until the final pitch seven innings later. Rosario and Cyle Hankerd each had two hits for Mazatlan while Greene and Amezaga both had two for Obregon, but this was a pitcher's night right up until the end. Despite losing the heartbreaker, the Yaquis still lead the semi series, 3 games to 2. Game Six is Sunday in Obregon.
Mexicali 4-9-1, NAVOJOA 3-5-2
W-J. Sanchez (1-0). L-Bustamante (0-2). T-3:04. A-10,982.
Navojoa took a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the fifth inning before imploding in the eighth inning as Mexicali scored a 4-3 road win Friday night in front of 10,982 horrified onlookers at Estadio Manuel "Ciclon" Echeverria.
After Mexicali starter Javier Solano battled Navojoa's Jose Oyervides over four scoreless innings, the Aguilas scored a run in the top of the fifth when Xorge Carrillo doubled and later came home when Mayos shortstop Jose Guadalupe Chavez coudn't find the handle on a Rickey Alvarez grounder in what was to prove a foretelling moment. Navojoa put up three on the board in the bottom of the frame as Fernando Flores smoked a two-run double and scored when Solano threw away a Diego Madera bunt, putting the Mayos up by two. Mexicali drew a run closer in the top of the sixth when C.J. Retherford's pop single just beyond Chavez' grasp at short sent Chris Roberson in to score, cutting Navojoa's lead to 3-2. After the teams swapped some zeros through the seventh, things got ugly.
Mexicali tied the game in the top of the eighth when Mayos third baseman Nate Tenbrink made a bad throw on a Welington Dotel grounder to bring in Roberson from third, then reliever Carlos Bustamante served up a wild pitch to Luis Juarez, allowing Yuniesky Bentacourt to plate the go-ahead run. The Mayos had two innings to make amends but couldn't advance anyone past second before time ran out.
Jake Sanchez pitched a scoreless seventh and got the win for Mexicali while Bustamante was tagged with the loss. Betancourt had three hits and a run for the Aguilas while Carlos Moncrief singled, doubled and scored for the Mayos. Mexicali now leads the series, 3 games to 2, as the two teams head north to the border for Sunday's Game Six.