Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Yucatan beats Leon in 11 on Francisco HR, lead series 2-0

Yucatan Leones designated hitter Juan Francisco
Designated hitter Juan Francisco was hitless as he approached the plate for what turned out to be his final at bat of the night, but the former Atlanta Braves infielder more than made it for it by belting a two-run homer in the bottom of the eleventh inning to give his Yucatan Leones a 5-3 win over the visiting Leon Bravos in their Mexican League South Division semifinal playoff series game in Merida.  The LMB South regular season champs now have a 2-0 lead in their best-of-7 set as the two teams move to Leon for at least two more games.

In the other LMB South semi Monday night, defending champs Puebla defeated Quintana Roo, 5-2, to go up 2-0.  In the LMB North opening round, Tijuana rebounded to beat Aguascalientes, 6-3, to even their series at 1-1 while Monterrey held off Monclova, 6-5, taking a 2-0 lead in that series.  Tuesday will be a travel day as all eight participants shift to ballparks in the cities of the lower-seeded teams for their respective Games Three on Wednesday night.

YUCATAN 5-8-0, Leon 3-10-0 (11)
W-Belisario (1-0).  L-F. Quintero (0-1).  T-9,682.  A-3:41.
Visiting Leon was able to build a 3-0 lead after Junior Lake scored from third base on a Niko Vasquez infield single in the top of the fourth inning, followed two frames later when Dan Johnson singled in Gilberto Mejia and a Vasquez sacrifice fly plated Lake.  Yucatan narrowed the gap to 3-1 in the bottom of the seventh when a groundout to first by ex-MLBer Juan Francisco brought in Diego Madero from third to break up Bravos pitcher Guillermo Moscoco's shutout bid.  Leon held their two-run advantage until the bottom of the ninth, when Ronnier Mustelier's run-scoring single to left brought in Leo Heras and a Francisco sac fly plated Diego Madera with the tying run, sending the contest into extra innings.  In the eleventh, Mustelier line a single to right, setting the stage for Francisco against incoming reliever Sergio Alvarado.  Francisco drove an Alvarado delivery over the left-field wall for the walkoff triumph.  Former Dodgers reliever Ronald Belisario tossed three perfect innings for the win, striking out four, as the Leones took a 2-0 series lead.  Game Three is in Leon Wednesday.

PUEBLA 5-10-1, Quintana Roo 2-5-1
W-Outman (0-1).  L-Ortega (0-1).  A-7,305.  T-2:16.
Puebla broke a scoreless tie by putting three runs on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth inning and the Pericos went on to a 5-2 win over visiting Quintana Roo Tigres, taking a 2 games to 0 series lead in the process.  Starting pitchers Josh Outman of Puebla and venerable Pablo Ortega of the Tigres swapped zeros until the fourth, when an Issmael Salas double was followed by a homer to right by Jesus Arredondo to give the Parrots a 2-0 lead.  Ricky Rodriguez then hit a ground-rule double over the center-field wall and scored from second one out later on Hector Garanzuay's single to right.  Salas finished the night with two doubles and a single, scoring once and driving in two, while Garanzuay contributed a pair of singles to give the Pericos middle infielders five of Puebla's ten hits between them. Former MLB hurler Outman went eight innings for the win, giving up one earned run.  Deunte Heath, another ex-big leaguer, pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for the save.  Ortega, who turns 41 in November, let in five runs on nine hits in five innings for the loss.  Game Three is Wednesday in Cancun.

TIJUANA 6-8-1, Aguascalientes 3-9-1
W-M. Pena (1-0).  L-Flande (0-1).  A-15,327.  T-3:46.
Tijuana leadoff batter Jose Guadalupe Chavez collected three hits, scoring twice, and the Toros posted four runs (three unearned) in the bottom of the third inning to take a lead they'd never relinquish as the LMB North's top seed beat Aguascalientes, 6-3, Wednesday as 15,327 fans watched at Estadio Gasmart.  The Toros' win evened their series with the visiting Rieleros, 1 game to 1.  Aguascalientes took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third when Dave Sappelt's two-out double up the middle brought in Eliezer Ortiz from first.  Things got rugged for Rieleros starter Yohan Flande in the bottom of the third as he walked Roberto Lopez to open the frame, committed a fielding error on a Chavez bunt and walked Dustin Martin to load the bases after striking out Isaac Rodriguez.  Flande then served up a two-run single to Cyle Hankerd. A Corey Brown sacrifice fly scored Martin with TJ's third run and Alex Liddi's single brought in Hankerd with a fourth score.  Miguel Pena pitched five strong innings for the win while Flande took the loss.  Game Three is slated for Wednesday night in Aguascalientes.

MONTERREY 6-14-2, Monclova 5-8-2
W-A. Castro (1-0).  L-R. Verdugo (0-1).  A-18,543.  T-3:22.
The Monterrey Sultanes built up a 6-1 lead in the fifth inning, then had to hold on for dear life to outlast the Monclova Acereros, 6-5, Monday to take a 2-0 lead in their series.  Jesus Montero's RBI single put the Sultanes ahead, 1-0, in the bottom of the first but it was a four-run third inning, keyed by Luis Juarez' three-run homer, that provided most of the Monterrey cushion.  Trailing 6-1 late, Monclova shaved one run off their deficit when Ruben Rivera belted a solo homer to lead off the eighth, but it was the ninth when things really got interesting.  Sultanes closer Wirfin Obispo replaced starter Angel Castro and gave up a leadoff walk to Carlos Quentin before striking out Matt Clark.  Quentin stole second uncontested with Tim Torres at the plate and scored on Torres' single to center.  2016 All-Star Game MVP Jose Amador then belted a two-run homer to make it a 6-5 contest before Obispo got the final two outs to end the game, then making an obscene gesture toward the Monclova dugout.  Montero and Zoilo Almonte each had three hits for the Sultanes, who travel to Monclova for Wednesday's Game Three.

WEDNESDAY'S SCHEDULE
Yucatan at Leon (Yucatan leads series, 2 games to 0)
Puebla at Quintana Roo (Puebla leads series, 2 games to 0)
Tijuana at Aguascalientes (Series tied, 1 game to 1)
Monterrey at Monclova (Monterrey leads series, 2 games to 0)