Tuesday, September 6, 2016
The Tijuana Toros put together a three-run sixth inning to break a 1-all tie and went on to win, 5-2, Monday night at Monterrey to take Game Seven and the LMB North crown to advance to the Serie del Rey against Puebla. Tijuana had finished the regular season in third place in the division, eight-and-a-half games behind the Sultanes in the standings. However, manager Pedro Mere (who replaced ex-Yankee Luis Sojo at the helm on July 4) led the Toros to series wins over higher seeds Monclova and Monterrey to give the border city a shot at its first Mexican League pennant.
Tijuana 5-13-0, MONTERREY 2-9-1 (Tijuana wins series, 4 games to 3)
W-A. Sanabia. L-C. Carrillo. SV-Urquidez. HR-Martin (T). T-3:05. A-25,621.
TJ starting pitcher Alex Sanabia (pictured) did his part by tossing six-and-two-thirds innings of one-run baseball, scattering six hits to raise his playoff record to 3-0. The game got off to a perilous start for the one-time Marlins hurler, however, as he gave up an RBI double to Alex Valdez in the bottom of the first to put Monterrey on the scoreboard. Sanabia had to pitch out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam that frame to stop the bleeding, then faced the minimum number of Sultanes batters the next five innings.
Tijuana tied it up in the top of the fourth when Carlos Valencia singled in Olmo Rosario, but it was the sixth when the roof finally fell in on Sultanes starter Cesar Carrillo. Dustin Martin led off the entrada with a first-pitch homer to right to give the visitors a 2-1 lead. That was followed by a Rosario single, an RBI double by Oscar Robles and a single by Edson Garcia that drove in Robles from second to make it a 4-1 Tijuana lead. Then Roberto Lopez homered in the top of the seventh to give Sanabia a four-run lead. The San Diego native combined with three relievers combined to limit the Sultanes to one eighth-inning score on Alex Valdez' RBI single to ice the win and send the Toros on to the LMB championship series against Puebla.