|Mexicali shortstop Walter Ibarra|
Walter Ibarra's grand slam keyed a five-run second inning as defending champion Mexicali went on to sneak by visiting Los Mochis, 7-6, Tuesday in a seesaw Mexican Pacific League season opener in front of 17,000 fans in sold-out Estadio B'Air.
The Caneros scored right off the bat in the top of the first when Leandro Castro singled off Aguilas starter Javier Solano to drive in Ramon Urias with the game’s first run before the Eagles flew into a four-run lead in the bottom of the second, with Ibarra’s four-run, four-bagger off Mochis opener Akeem Bostick providing the key blow en route to a 5-1 lead.
Los Mochis closed the gap to 5-3 in the fourth via Sebastian Valle’s two-run homer and another two-run blast by Mitch Walding followed by Valle’s second homer of the night (both off Aguilas reliever Marco Quevedo) two innings later to give the Caneros a 6-5 lead.
Mexicali came back to knot the game up in the bottom of the six after Daniel Castro scored when Yuniesky Betancourt grounded to third for a double play and then took the lead for good in the eighth as C.J. Retherford singled to right to bring Castro in from third to go up, 7-6. Aguilas manager Roberto Vizcarra sent Ryan Kussmaul in to save the win and Kussmaul responded by retiring Mochis in order with one strikeout in seven pitches.
Reliever Cody Wisniarski got the win for Mexicali after walking the bases loaded in the eighth but escaping without being scored upon. Manuel Rodriguez was tagged with the loss for the Caneros after allowing Daniel Castro to lead off the eighth with a bunt single, putting the winning run on base. It was Mochis’ third pitcher of the entrada, D.J. Johnson, who gave up Retherford’s go-ahead single. Ibarra, Betancourt, Yordanys Linares and Josh Romanski each had two hits for the winners. Valle finished with his two longballs and three RBIs for the Caneros with Walding walking three times and scoring twice to go with his homer.
The Aguilas and Caneros will take Wednesday night off as the MexPac’s six other teams open their seasons as Jalisco plays at Mazatlan, Navojoa visits Culiacan and Obregon travels to Hermosillo. Teams will swap venues Friday night to conclude each two-game series.