Friday, May 6, 2016

Streaking Pericos complete second straight sweep

Ex-MLB pitcher Travis Blackley (pictured) left the game after six innings with an 11-1 lead as the Puebla Pericos went on to post a 14-7 win over the Tabasco Olmecas Thursday night in front of 4,451 fans at Puebla's Estadio Hermanos Serdan.  The victory was the seventh straight for the Parrots, who claimed their second consecutive series sweep after copping three straight triumphs against Yucatan in Merida last weekend.

Blackley allowed just two hits and struck out five Tabasco batters for his second win in three decisions in 2016.  The Australian lefty had one shaky inning, giving up a walk, hitting a batter and giving up a two-out RBI single to Jorge Guzman in the fourth to put the Olmecas on the board, but the Pericos had already scored four runs to that point to give Blackley a cushion before exploding for seven runs in the bottom of the fourth.  Rodolfo Amador socked a two-run homer as Puebla sent ten batsmen to the plate.

After Blackley tossed two more scoreless frames, the Pericos scored three more times to make it a 14-1 lead after six innings.  To their credit, Tabasco showed late signs of life with four runs in the eighth, with Juan Silverio stroking a two-run single to left, and Rogelio Noris and Silverio hit back-to-back homers off Rogelio Bernal in the top of the ninth to bring the score to 14-7, but too much damage had already been done and Benny Suarez retired two of the Olmecas' next three batters to end the game.

The two teams combined for 27 hits (16 by Puebla) and 12 walks in the game, which lasted three hours and 27 minutes.  Pericos catcher Cesar Tapia, one of the top batters in the LMB thus far, went 4-for-4 with two doubles, four RBI's and three runs scored to raise his average to .394.  The 33-year-old Tapia is in his 12th Liga season (all but one with Puebla) and has a career .327 mark and has hit below .300 just once since 2006.

For his part, Blackley (also 33) recorded his best start of the young season.  The well-traveled hurler has pitched for five MLB teams in his 16-year career, mostly bouncing between AAA and the bigs along with stints in Korea and Japan.  He married model Jenna Cecil in the offseason.

The 19-10 Pericos are tied with Quintana Roo for first place in the LMB South.  Puebla is 11-2 on the road this year while the Tigres are 11-5, as are the third-place Yucatan Leones, who lost, 2-1, at Campeche Tuesday.  In the LMB North, Monclova withstood a five-run ninth by visiting Monterrey to hold off the Sultanes, 6-5, to go to 21-8 on the season while building their lead over the Sultanes to four games.