A few Pirates’ players and friends in Sunday’s winter league playoff action:
PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE
Indios de Mayaguez 8, Criollos de Caguas 5
This was the wrap-up of the game that was suspended on Saturday. When we last left our heros, Mayaguez had scored in 5 consecutive innings, and was leading Los Criollos 8-3. Justin Thomas had pitched the top of the 8th for Los Indios, and had struck out the side. The top of the 9th began with a new reliever for Los Indios, who gave up a single, an RBI double, and another single, leaving runners on the corners with no outs. When the game resumed, the first batter bounced back to the mound, where reliever Kyle Smit (Cubs) made a great scoop and fired to second, beginning a double play. The runner on third had to hold there, but he scored when the next batter singled. That was all, though, as a pop up ended the game. Los Indios now have a 4 games to 2 lead in the best-of-9 game series.
Leones del Escogido 4, Aguilas Cibaenas 1
Los Leones took a 2-0 game lead in this best-of-9 series, holding Los Aguilas to just one run. That run came in the 3rd, when back-to-back singles and a throwing error put two runners in scoring position. The next batter singled, driving in the lead runner, but the runner from second was cut down at the plate. RF Brandon Moss walked in that inning, which loaded the bases for Los Aguilas, but a fly out ended the rally. Los Leones scored on a solo homer in the 2nd, and added a run on two singles and a double in the 4th. They picked up 2 insurance runs on a walk and two doubles in the 8th. Moss went 1-for-3 with a single to lead off the 2nd inning, but was erased in a double play.
Navegantes del Magallanes 6, Caribes de Anzoategui 5
The Venezuelan League playoff picture got sorted out with these two extra games, the first of which took 11 innings. Los Navegantes scored 2 runs in the 2nd, and 3 in the 3rd, with some help from Los Caribes’ pitchers, who walked 3 batters in each inning. Los Caribes were quiet until the 6th inning,when they loaded the bases on a single and two walks (one to CF Gorkys Hernandez), then drove in a run with a sacrifice fly. A walk and two singles gave Los Caribes another run in the 7th. They tied the score in the bottom of the 8th. Hernandez led off by reaching base on a fielding error, then a single and a 3-run homer tied the game. Reliever Jean Machi came on to pitch for Los Navegantes after the homer, and he finished the 8th by retiring the next three batters in order. Machi also pitched the bottom of the 9th and 10th innings, allowing only two singles in the 1oth. Los Navegantes could not score in the 9th or 10th either, but they pushed one run across in the top of the 11th with a single and an RBI double. Machi was still the pitcher of record when the run scored, so he earned the win when two other relievers kept Los Caribes from scoring in the bottom of the 11th.
Tiburones de La Guaira 16, Navegantes del Magallanes 1
The winners of the first game then moved on to the second game, but 11 innings earlier in the day must have worn out Los Navegantes. They began the second game with a run on a walk, a bunt, a stolen base, and an RBI single in the top of the 1st. Then Los Tiburones shut them down. Los Navegantes had at least one runner on base in each of the remaining innings except the 9th, but could not get any of them around to score. Meanwhile, Los Tiburones were feasting on Los Navegantes’ pitchers. They scored 4 runs in the 1st, had a 2-run homer in the 3rd, scored 6 in the 6th (2-run homer) and 4 in the 7th (3-run homer).
The final standings have Los Tigres de Aragua in first place with a 10-6 record. Los Tiburones are second with a 10-7 record. Los Navegantes are third with a 10-8 record, and Los Caribes are fourth with a 9-8 record. Los Aguilas finished last in the round-robin portion of the playoffs, with a 3-13 record.
MEXICAN PACIFIC LEAGUE
Yaquis de Obregon 6, Algodoneros de Guasave 5
Los Yaquis won the second game, for a 2-0 lead in this best-of-7 series. Los Yaquis scored one run in the bottom of the 1st, when CF Corey Wimberly led off with a walk, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, then scored on an RBI double. That small lead vanished when Guasave scored 2 runs in the 3rd, and 3 runs in the 6th. Los Yaquis came from behind, though, to take the win. They scored 2 runs in the bottom of the 6th, on a double, a throwing error, an RBI ground out, and an RBI single. Wimberly singled to lead off the bottom of the 7th, and came around to score on an RBI ground out. A 2-run homer in the bottom of the 8th brought in the tying and go-ahead runs, to give Los Yaquis the lead.