Monday, October 2, 2017

All-Star benefit games played in Culiacan, Monterrey

The benefit All-Star baseball series jointly organized by the Mexican League and Mexican Pacific League is in the history books, with the two teams splitting games in Culiacan and Monterrey over the weekend while, more importantly, raising money for relief efforts in the wake of September's devastating earthquakes in the southern portion of the country.  According to Puro Beisbol columnist Hector Bencomo (and partly confirmed in a comment below by BBM reader Bob Broughton in Guanajuato), about 7,000 fans turned out for Saturday's game in Culiacan while 12,000 were in the stands in Monterrey on Sunday.

Walter Silva was tabbed by manager Daniel Fernandez to start for the Red team in Saturday's opener in Culiacan while hometown lefty Danny Rodriguez received the nod from Green skipper Pedro Mere.  A third-inning single to Luis Garcia that plated the game's first run to give the Rojos an early lead, but the Verdes fought back with three runs off Red reliever Fabian Cota on an Eduardo Arredondo single, Carlos Gastelum sacrifice fly and a double by ex-MLBer Jorge Cantu.  The Greens scored four more runs in the bottom of the fourth, courtesy of a Gastelum single, a two-run single by Yordanys Linares and another RBI safety from Jose Amador.  Arned with a 7-1 advantage, five Verdes relievers were able to shut out the Rojos the rest of the way to preserve the win.  Rodriguez was given the win for the Greens while Cota took the loss for the Reds.

The Rojos came back from Saturday's loss with a 6-1 triumph over the Greens in Monterrey Sunday.  The Verdes took an early lead in the first inning when Eduardo singled off Rojos starter Edgar Gonzalez to drive in Ramon Rios with the game's first run.  Green starter Pablo Ortega pitched two scoreless innings as the Verdes held their precarious 1-0 lead until the fifth inning, when the Rojos scored four runs to take the lead. An Antonio Lamas RBI single tied the game for the Reds and Garcia's safety drove in the go-ahead (and game-winning) run.  Ricardo Valenzuela's sacrifice fly brought in Lamas to make it a 3-1 game, and Alex Gonzalez scored Garcia with a single to put the Reds up 4-1.  Jesse Castillo belted the only home run of the series in the seventh, giving the Rojos a four-run lead, and Garcia's later RBI single provided the Reds with their final margin of victory.  Reliever Marco Carrillo earned the win for the Rojos while Ozzie Mendez absorbed the loss.

While neither contest was particularly competitive, fans in both Culiacan and Monterrey were treated to games featuring many of the top performers in Mexican baseball while raising funds for the crucial relief efforts (BBM readers wishing to do so can click on the Salvation Army icon atop the right-hand column on this site).  The following are pictures from both nights taken off the LMP and LMB websites:

Puro Beisbol will be hosting a celebrity softball game of their own on Wednesday night in Mazatlan.  That tilt was originally organized as a fundraiser to help pay medical expenses for retired Mexican ballplayers such as ex-pitcher Juan Manuel Palafox, who ended up comatose in a Guadalajara hospital after initially suffering a burst bowel in early 2016.  Palafox is recovering, but he lacks a pension from either the LMB or LMP to help pay his considerable medical expenses, a condition that has repeated itself a number of times with former players south of the border.  While the Puro Beisbol benefit has been revised to be an earthquake relief fundraiser, their efforts on behalf of old ballplayers