Monday, September 12, 2016

Big inning propels Pericos to win, 3-1 title series lead

A four-run outburst in the fourth inning put Puebla ahead for good and starter Hector Galvan (pictured) and three relievers combined to toss shutout ball over the final eight frames as the Pericos went on to beat Tijuana, 5-1, Sunday in the Mexican League Championship Series at Puebla's Estadio Hermanos Serdan with a sixth consecutive sellout crowd of 12,112 looking on.  With the win, the Parakeets took a 3-games-to-1 lead in the Serie del Rey in their quest for their hometown's first LMB pennant in 30 years.

The Toros took a 1-0 lead in a crazy top of the first inning.  After walking leadoff batter Jose Guadalupe Chavez and inducing Alex Romero to foul out to Pericos left fielder Nyjer Morgan, things started getting weird when Olmo Rosario stepped up to the plate for Tijuana.  Galvan threw a wild pitch to Rosario that allowed Chavez to scamper to second, then a delivery that eluded catcher Cesar Tapia gave Chavez the green light to advance to third.  It was left to Rosario to loft a fly ball that fell to earth in front of center fielder Willy Taveras for a single, bringing in Chavez with what turned out to be the Toros' only run.  Dustin Martin and Carlos Valencia also singled to load the bases before Oscar Robles grounded out to second to end the inning.

The Pericos knotted the score at 1-1 in the bottom of the first when Jose Rodriguez' grounder found its way to left field to bring Morgan in from third, but it was the fourth inning that effectively put the game away for Puebla.  Rodriguez opened the inning by being plunked Tijuana starter Miguel Pena, moved to third on a Daric Barton double and (after Pena walked Tapia to load the bases) came in on an infield single by Ruben Rivera.  Alberto Carreon then stroked a two-run double to give Puebla a 4-1 lead.  Rudy Amador grounded out on a comebacker to Pena on the mound with no more runs coming in, but that was enough for Tijuana manager Pedro Mere.  Mark Serrano was brought in to face Oscar Sanay, who nubbed an infield single to third that brought Rivera in from third before Morgan ended the inning by lining to first sacker Roberto Lopez for an unassisted double play to end the inning and (in effect) the game, as nobody scored the rest of the way.

Taveras went 3-for-5 to lead the Pericos' nine-hit effort while Carreon recorded his third straight two-hit game to raise his playoff batting average to .360.  Rosario collected two of Tijuana's six hits.  Galvan ended up allowing the Toros' lone run on five hits over his five innings of work to take the win, scattering five safeties.  Pena absorbed the defeat to fall to 0-2 in the playoffs, giving up six hits, hitting two batters and walking another in 3.1 frames.  He was charged with all five Puebla runs.  One day after the two teams combined for six homers in Game Three, neither side hit one out Sunday.

The Pericos will try to clinch Puebla's first Liga pennant since 1986 and fourth since 1925 on Monday while the Toros try to keep the Serie de Rey alive and send the proceedings back to Tijuana for Games Six and Seven.  Lefty Horacio Ramirez will be on the hill for the Toros while fellow portsider Orlando Lara will start for Puebla.  The first pitch is scheduled for 8:00pm ET.

PUEBLA 5-9-0, Tijuana 1-6-0 (Puebla leads series, 3 games to 1)
W-Galvan. L-M. Pena. T-2:46. A-12,112.