The Culiacan Tomateros put four runs on the scoreboard in the top of the 19th inning and held host Obregon scoreless in the bottom of the frame to come away with a marathon 7-3 win over the Yaquis Sunday night. The triumph bumped Culiacan’s Mexican Pacific League record to 14-9, good enough for a one-game lead over 13-10 Jalisco in the LMP first-half standings. Obregon dropped deeper into last place by falling to 8-15, two games in back of seventh-place Navojoa.
Sunday night’s contest began at 5:13PM local time when Obregon starter David Reyes pitched a high ball to Tomateros leadoff man D’Arby Myers for ball one. The two teams played scoreless ball until the bottom of the third, when the Yaquis’ Niko Vazquez rapped a bases-loaded double off Culiacan opener Edgar Gonzalez to give Obregon a 3-0 cushion. The Tomateros chipped away and tied the game by plating single runs in the fourth, fifth and ninth innings (the latter on an Andy Wilkins sacrifice fly to left that scored Sebastian Elizalde from third to even the score at 3-3).
The two teams went on to play the equivalent of a full second game, going another nine innings without bothering the scorer before bringing their deadlock into the top of the 19th entrada. Jose Orozco and Josh Fuentes both singled to lead off against Obregon reliever Carlos de Leon, who was then replaced by Martin Sotelo. Marco Guzman Jr.’s sacrifice bunt moved Orozco and Fuentes up to leave first base open, leading Sotelo to intentionally walk Alfredo Amezaga, loading the bases with Maxwell Leon due up. Whatever strategy was behind the move was rendered moot when Leon smoked his fourth double of the season to bring in Orozco and Fuentes in with the go-ahead runs. Sotelo then intentionally walked Myers to pitch to Alexis Wilson, whose liner up the middle scored both Amezaga and Leon to give the Tomateros a 7-3 advantage.
It was then left to David Gutierrez, Culiacan’s eighth pitcher (the Yaquis used nine), to close out the contest. When Gutierrez induced Sergio Contreras to fly out to Elizalde in right, ending the game, the clock read nine minutes to midnight, or 6 hours, 38 minutes after Reyes’ opening pitch. Myers and Elizalde each had three hits between 18 combined plate appearances. Leo Heras and Alex Liddi had three singles apiece for Obregon. Francisco Rios got the win for the Tomateros, tossing shutout ball for the 17th and 18th innings, while De Leon was the Yaquis hard-luck loser after pitching six scoreless stanzas before allowing those two leadoff singles in the 19th. A crowd of 9,111 was on hand at Estadio Nuevo Yaquis at game time, but it can be safely assumed that the vast majority were long-gone by game’s end.
MEXICAN PACIFIC LEAGUE Standings (as of November 6, 2017)
Culiacan 14-9, Jalisco 13-10, Hermosillo 12-11, Mazatlan 12-11, Mexicali 12-11, Los Mochis 11-12, Navojoa 10-13, Obregon 8-15.
MEXICAN PACIFIC LEAGUE Batting Leaders
Batting-Jeremias Pineda (MAZ) .394, Runs-Many Rodriguez (JAL) 18, Homers-Bryce Brentz (HMO) 6, RBIs-Manny Rodriguez (JAL) 24, Stolen Bases-Jeremias Pineda (MAZ) 13.
MEXICAN PACIFIC LEAGUE Pitching Leaders
Wins-Danny Rodriguez (CUL), Tyler Kane (NAV) and Mitch Lively (MAZ) 3, ERA-Danny Rodriguez (CUL) 0.98, Strikeouts-Cesar Vargas (HMO) 27, Saves-Ryan Kussmaul (MXI) 10, WHIP-Danny Rodriguez (CUL) 0.65.
Saltalamacchia signs with Jalisco, Japhet Amador arrives
The Jalisco Charros have signed MLB veteran catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia to a contract. The 32-year-old Saltalamacchia made his big league debut with Atlanta in 2007, hitting .284 over 47 games for the Braves before being part of a seven-man trade in which Atlanta also sent shortstop Elvis Andrus and pitcher Neftali Perez to Texas for first baseman Mark Teixeira and pitcher Ron Mahay.
While Saltalamacchia never became an All-Star like Andrus and Perez subsequently did for the Rangers, the 2003 first round draft pick (for the Braves) did go on to be a useful player for eleven years, a passable defensive catcher and a guy who didn’t hit for a high average but reached double figures in homers six times and 10+ doubles eight times. The 6’4” Floridian socked 55 longballs between 2011-13 for Boston, where he was the starting catcher for the 2013 world champion Red Sox. In all, Saltalamacchia has a .233 career batting average in the majors with 110 homers and 381 RBIs over 890 career games.
Saltalamacchia spent part of the 2017 season in the Blue Jays organization, hitting .040 in Toronto and .162 with AAA Buffalo before he was released in late June. He played his first two games for the Charros in a weekend home series with Navojoa, going 2-for-6 with a homer and three RBIs.
Jalisco was not exactly suffering behind the plate, with All-Star Carlos Rodriguez and defensive standout Gabriel Gutierrez already on the roster, but February’s Caribbean Series will be held in Guadalajara and Charros owner Armando Navarro (who normally operates in hyperdrive anyway) really wants his team in it as the Mex Pac champion.
In addition to Saltalamacchia, slugger Japhet Amador returned from his second season with Japan’s Rakuten Golden Eagles. The Mulege Giant made his 2017-18 debut Saturday against Navojoa, socking a homer and double in four at-bats before singling and scoring twice against the Mayos Sunday.
LMB Presidents meeting in Leon; is Durango on agenda?
If you’ve been following that story, you’re already aware of how the Generales (along with the Leon Bravos) entered the LMB last year as replacements for the Carmen Delfines and Reynosa Broncos, respectively, and immediately ran into problems. Both teams had to play as road warriors for the first month of the season while their ballparks were undergoing late-starting renovations. The difficulties didn’t end after the two clubs began playing at home. In Durango, the local fans actually supported the team reasonably well as the Generales finished in the middle of the LMB pack in average attendance despite a last-place finish in the LMB North, but cash flow was a season-long problem as players went unpaid more than once over the course of the schedule. Several key players were sold off and the 2017 season was by and large a disaster.
As a result, new league president Javier Salinas (along with the Assembly) in late September ordered the Generales to take 2018 off so they could get their financial house in order for another try in 2019. That move was met by defiance from Durango state governor Jose Rosas Aizpuro Torres, who said in effect that the Generales ain’t goin’ nowhere and that funding would be secured for next year, with new investors to replace overmatched team owner Virgilio Ruiz at the top of the pyramid.
On top of that, the team swung an October 25 trade with the Tabasco Olmecas in which pitcher Adrian Garza and first baseman Jesus Rivera went to Villahermosa in exchange for outfielder Rogelio Noris and pitcher Hubbie Pellegaud. October trades do happen but at least scribe at the Puro Beisbol site asked logically what a team that’s been shut down for a year is doing making trades?
It promises to be an interesting three days in Leon this week.
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