Cheering for Pirates’ players and friends in winter league playoff games…
Estrellas de Oriente 9, Gigantes del Cibao 4 — A pair of 2-run homers in the first two innings got Los Estrellas off to a good start. Three singles added two more runs in the 6th for Los Estrellas. Five singles, including one by Ronny Paulino, and a fielding error by RF Rich Thompson (the second in 2 days) added another 3 runs in the 7th. By then, Los Gigantes were out of it. They scored one run in the 1st on a passed ball, a single, and a sacrifice fly. Los Gigantes rallied for 3 runs in the 8th. A single and a grounder force out left Thompson on first base. He advanced to second base on a fielding error, then scored on an RBI double. Another ground out and a single brought in two more runs.
PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE
Senadores de San Juan 2, Gigantes de Carolina 0 — A pitching duel, with each team held to just 4 hits. 2B Benji Gonzalez and CF Luis Matos hit back-to-back singles in the 5th, and that was the closest Los Gigantes came to scoring. Three of Los Senadores’ hits were singles in the 3rd inning, and combined with a sacrifice bunt and a throwing error, that brought in their two runs.
Caribes de Anzoategui 7, Bravos de Margarita 1 — More team-jumping here, this time with reliever Jean Machi and catcher JR House jumping from Los Navegantes del Magallanes to Los Bravos de Margarita (and House had been with Los Gigantes del Cibao in the Dominican League before that). House went 0-for-3 with a walk for Los Bravos. The walk led off the top of the 3rd, but he was left on base. Los Bravos scored their only run in the 5th, on a hit batter, a double, and an RBI ground out. Los Caribes scored all their runs in the first 4 innings — 2 in the 1st, a 3-run homer in the 2nd, and 2 more in the 4th. Machi came on to pitch for Los Bravos in the 7th, and he worked around a lead-off single, keeping any more runs from scoring.
Just a few more days in the winter leagues’ regular seasons…
DOMINICAN LEAGUE (round robin playoff series)
Leones del Escogido 6, Gigantes del Cibao 4 — Three runs in the bottom of the 6th gave Los Leones the win, despite being out-hit 13 – 12. Former Pirate Rich Thompson made his first Dominican League appearance, playing right and center field for Los Gigantes. He singled twice and walked, and drove in Los Gigantes’ first run in the top of the 2nd inning.
Toros del Este 4, Estrellas de Oriente 0 — Los Estrellas also had the better hit totals (8-6) but still lost when they couldn’t push any runners across the plate. DH Ronny Paulino, taken from Los Tigres del Licey in the pre-playoff draft, doubled for Los Estrellas.
PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE
Leones de Ponce 7, Gigantes de Carolina 1 (Game 1) — Los Leones scored in each of the last four innings of the 7-inning game, posting 12 hits. Los Gigantes managed only 4 hits, and scored their only run on a solo homer in the bottom of the 7th. Eric Krebs came in from the bullpen for Los Gigantes when another reliever was ejected (after hitting a batter). Krebs threw a wild pitch, moving runners to second and third bases. A ground out brought in the runner from third base (charged to the previous pitcher), then Krebs ended the inning with a strikeout.
Leones 7, Gigantes 6 (Game 2) — Benji Gonzalez got the start at second base for Los Gigantes. He doubled to lead off the bottom of the 1st, and scored on a ground out and a fielding error. Gonzalez walked to load the bases in the 5th, and a sacrifice fly gave Los Gigantes a second run. Ponce scored 3 runs in the 3rd on two singles and two doubles, then 2 runs in the 5th on a single, a walk, and a 2-RBI triple. A single and a pair of doubles gave them two more in the top of the 7th, and Los Gigantes were behind 7-2 going into the bottom of the 7th (a 7-inning game). With RJ Rodriguez on the mound for Los Leones, Los Gigantes rallied in the bottom of 7th. Gonzalez opened the frame with a walk, then went to second base on a passed ball. With two outs (both strikeouts), A double plated Gonzalez, then a walk, a wild pitch, and a triple gave Los Gigantes two more runs. The second wild pitch of the inning brought in the 4th run. CF Luis Matos was hit by a pitch, but Rodriguez finally got a third strikeout to end the inning and the game.
Back in action…. cheering for some Pirates’ players and friends in Sunday’s winter league action:
Gigantes del Cibao 11, Toros del Este 7 — The Dominican League’s round robin playoff series began this evening, and Los Gigantes took their first game with a 6-run 8th inning. Los Toros scored 4 runs in the 1st and 3 runs in the 6th, but it wasn’t enough. SS Pedro Ciriaco went 0-for-4 for Los Toros, and he also reached base on a fielding error in the 6th, which allowed a run to score. Former Pirate Juan Perez pitched to one batter for Los Gigantes, finishing the 6th inning after Los Toros’ runs had scored.
PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE
Senadores de San Juan 3, Gigantes de Carolina 1 — 2B Benji Gonzalez and CF Luis Matos were both hitless for Los Gigantes, who scored their only run in the 8th inning, on a single and a double. Former Pirate farmhand Eric Krebs came on to pitch the bottom of the 5th for Los Gigantes, which he began with a ground out. But a walk, a single, and Krebs’ own throwing error on a pick-off attempt brought in one run for San Juan. A wild pitch and another fielding error added a second run, and Krebs was relieved. Los Senadores scored again in the 6th on a walk, a stolen base, and an RBI single.
MEXICAN PACIFIC LEAGUE
Venados de Mazatlan 9, Caneros de los Mochis 6 — Los Venados scored 5 runs in the first two innings,a nd did not give up their lead, as they posted a total of 15 hits. Rogelios Noris entered the game as a defensive replacement in the bottom of the 6th, to play right field. He had one plate appearance, in which he struck out. Then in the bottom of the 9th, Noris moved to the infield to play second base — something he hasn’t done for at least 2 season, if he played there at all in the VSL. He’s not a natural there — he made a throwing error which extended the game, though no runs scored because of it.
The Dominican and Puerto Rican All-Star squads faced off this evening (Sunday), and a four of the Pirates’ former players and friends were involved, all on the Puerto Rican team:
Puerto Rican All-Stars 4, Dominican All-Stars 3
The Puerto Ricans and Dominicans put runners on base in the first three innings, but couldn’t get any of them around to score. The Puerto Ricans finally got onto the scoreboard in the bottom of the 4th. Two singles and a ground out put two runners into scoring position. Former Indy Indian (2007) LF Luis Matos reached base on a throwing error at short, and both runners came in to score. A double brought in Matos to give the Puerto Ricans a 3-0 lead. The Dominicans came right back to tie the game in the top of the 5th. A double and a single plated one run, and a 2-run homer by 3B Victor Mercedes made it a 3-3 tie. The Puerto Ricans scratched out another run in the bottom of the 7th. A single, the third error by the Dominican shortstop, a ground out, and an RBI single gave the Puerto Ricans the lead. Former Pirate farmhand RJ Rodriguez pitched the top of the 8th for the Puerto Ricans. He struck out the first two batters of the inning, then finished it with a fly out. Former Indy Indian (2004) SS Luis Figueroa singled for Puerto Rico in the 1st inning, but didn’t score. Former Pirate 3B Ramon Vazquez doubled in the 2nd, and also did not score.
MEXICAN PACIFIC LEAGUE
Aguilas de Mexicali 2, Venados de Mazatlan 1 — A pair of singles around a sacrifice bunt gave Los Aguilas the first run of the game in the top of the 1st, and they repeated the trick for another run in the 6th. Two singles and a throwing error brought in Los Venados’ only run in the 7th. RF Rogelios Noris singled in the 8th for Los Venados but was left on base. His fellow Pirate farmhand Matt Hague came in to play first base for Mexicali in the 8th, but did not get a plate appearance.
Checking in on some Pirates’ players and friends in Friday night’s winter league games:
Navegantes del Magallanes 7, Bravos de Margarita 5 — Jean Machi pitched a perfect 9th inning to earn his 6th Save for Los Navegantes. His teammates took a 5-1 lead in the bottom of the 6th with a two-out rally, scoring 5 runs on two doubles, four singles, and a walk. They added 2 more runs in the 7th on four more singles. Los Bravos put their first run on the board in the 3rd with three singles. A grand slam by CF Frank Diaz in the top of the 8th brought Los Bravos closer, but Machi held them off in the 9th. Just released SS Argenis Diaz came into the game to play shortstop in the top of the 9th, and he scooped the grounder that was Machi’s first out.
Tigres de Aragua 8, Aguilas de Zulia 1 — Two Pirates’ teammates on Los Tigres…. one tendered a contract, one not… SS Ronny Cedeno was hit by a pitch in the top of the 1st, stole second base, then scored on a 2-run homer. C Raul Chavez’s home run in the 2nd inning gave Los Tigres a 3-0 lead. In the 5th, a throwing error and a single put two runners on base. Cedeno bunted them both into scoring position, then CF Lastings Milledge drove in one run with an RBI single into right field. Los Tigres capped their scoring with 4 runs in the 6th. A single and two walks loaded the bases. Chavez was hit by a pitch, forcing in the first run. A single brought in the second run, and Cedeno’s ground out plated the third run. A walk to Milledge loaded the bases again, and another walk forced in Chavez with the fourth run of the inning. Chavez had an embarrassing moment in the 5th — with runners on first and second bases, Chavez lined right to the Zulia third baseman, who started a triple play.
PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE
Criollos de Caguas 4, Gigantes de Carolina 3 — Los Gigantes had the early lead, starting with a run in the 1st, when former Indy Indian LF Luis Matos doubled and scored. In the 2nd, a ground-rule double, a walk, a fielding error by 3B Ramon Vazquez, and a single gave them a 3-0 lead. An RBI single by SS Luis Figueroa drove in Los Criollos’ first run in the 5th. Then a single, a triple, and a 3-run homer in the 6th gave Los Criollos the win. Figueroa also singled in the 1st, and Vazquez singled in the 3rd.