The first round of the Dominican Summer League playoffs wrapped up this morning, with the Pirates2 taking on the Tigers in the finale of a best-of-three series. The Tigers won big in game one, then almost made a comeback in game two after the Pirates2 took an early lead. With the series on the line, the Pirates2 turned to 19-year-old righty Eduardo Vera, who had an impressive season this year. He went 1-0, 1.95 in 13 starts and one relief appearance, posting strong numbers across the board.
The Pirates2 had two men on in the first inning, but couldn’t score. In the bottom of the inning, the Tigers got on the board with their fifth home run of the series, a one out solo shot. Vera settled down quickly and got the next two outs, then after hitting the lead-off batter in the second inning, he got out of that inning facing the minimum thanks to a caught stealing with the help of his catcher Yoel Gonzalez.
The Pirates2 loaded the bases in the third inning without a hit. Three straight batters reached with two out, with one walk surrounded by two hit-by-pitches. Through the first three innings, the game had a total of five players getting hit. Jhoan Herrera, who was big in game two, came up with the bases loaded and grounded out to shortstop.
After the Pirates2 went down quietly in the top of the fourth, the Tigers put another run on the board in the bottom of the inning. A lead-off single was followed by a one out double that brought the run home. It could have been worse, but center fielder Michael de la Cruz threw out the runner as he tried to stretch the double into a triple.
In the fifth inning, the Pirates2 had another scoring opportunity wasted. The put two runners on with one out before Carlos Munoz ended the inning by grounding into a double play. Vera got through the fifth without allowing another run, finishing his day with two runs on three hits, a walk and two hit batters.
The Tigers also went to their bullpen in the sixth inning, bringing in Janry Obispo, who had a 1.89 ERA and .191 BAA in 33.1 innings this year. He quickly loaded the bases and had to be replaced. Despite the great scoring chance, the Pirates2 again failed in the clutch, leaving them loaded again and the game remained 2-0 in favor of the Tigers.
Jesus Paredes came on for the Pirates2 in the sixth and walked a batter, then got a double play and strike out. Michael de la Cruz led off the seventh with a single, but then it was the Tigers who turned a double play. Paredes again walked the first hitter in the bottom of the seventh, but got out of the inning, sending it to the eighth with the Pirates2 down two runs and time running out.
The Pirates2 went down in order in the eighth, then brought on Hector Garcia to keep the game close. He struck out the first hitter, then gave up a double. The double was followed by a double play as right fielder Alexis Bastardo threw out the runner trying to tag up on a fly out.
In the ninth, the Pirates2 went to their bench, bringing up Ramy Perez to hit for Fredis Padilla. Perez grounded out, then Yoel Gonzalez struck out and Bealyn Chourio grounded out to end the game and the Pirates2 season.
The Pirates2 had seven hits, a walk and four hit batters, but they went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position. Michael de la Cruz and Jose Salazar each had two hits and a HBP. The three Pirates2 pitchers combined to allow just four hits and held a Tigers offense in check that scored 15 runs in the first two games.