Cheering for the Pirates’ players and friends in winter league playoff action …
Tigres de Aragua 5, Bravos de Margarita 4 — A double and a single in the top of the 10th gave Los Tigres the winning run. Los Tigres had started the scoring in the top of the 1st, on three singles, including an RBI single by LF Lastings Milledge. Los Bravos countered with a 3-run homer in the bottom of the 4th. Milledge tied the score with a solo home run in the top of the 6th. With Jean Machi on the mound for Margarita in the top of the 8th, a walk, a sacrifice bunt, and a wild pitch put a Tigres’ batter on third base, and he scored on an RBI single. Machi came back to pitch a quick 1-2-3 inning in the top of the 9th. Los Bravos tied the score again in the bottom of the 9th on a solo homer. Los Tigres broke the tie in the top of the 10th, then held off Los Bravos in the bottom of the frame. Wil Ledezma pitched a perfect 6th inning for Los Tigres, then gave up a 2-out single in the 7th. C Raul Chavez and 1B Hector Gimenez picked that runner off first base to get Los Tigres out of the inning. Gimenez went 0-for-4 at the plate, and Chavez went 0-for-2. Miguel Perez came into the game as a late-inning defensive replacement behind the plate, but did not have a plate appearance.
Leones del Caracas 10, Caribes de Anzoategui 6 — Seven runs in the top of the 1st gave Los Leones an edge that Los Caribes could not overcome. Los Leones sent 11 batters to the plate in the 1st inning, and the first 6 batters reached base safely: single, single, walk, grand slam, single, single (by C Carlos Maldonado). After a pop out, LF Mike Ryan hit a 2-run homer, which was followed by a double, before the inning ended. Maldonado added another RBI single in the 2nd inning, and Caracas picked up another 2-run homer in the top of the 9th. Los Caribes scored in all but one of the first 6 innings, but four of those innings brought in just one run, not enough to catch up.
Just a few winter league playoff games on Monday night.. The Mexican Pacific and Puerto Rican leagues were off tonight.
Gigantes del Cibao 6, Estrellas de Oriente 5 — The game began with a solo home run from the first batter of the game, plus another run in the top of the 1st for Los Estrellas. Los Gigantes tied the score with 2 runs in the bottom of the 2nd. Eight scoreless innings followed, until Los Estrellas scored 3 runs in the top of the 11th, all charged to Los Gigantes’ Juan Perez, on one hit and 3 walks. Ronny Paulino pinch-hit in the inning but struck out. Perez was saved from being charged with the loss when Los Gigantes answered with 4 runs in the bottom of the 11th. One hit and 5 walks contributed to those 4 runs.
Leones del Caracas 8, Aguilas de Zulia 5 — These two teams combined for 29 hits, as Los Caracas cut short Los Aguilas’ 9th inning rally and held on for the win. Caracas scored 3 runs in the bottom of the 1st, on a double, two singles, a hit batter, and a sacrifice fly. They added 3 more runs in the 3rd on three solo homers (not back-to-back), including one by C Carlos Maldonado. Solo homer number four came in the 5th inning. Maldonado drove in Los Leones’ final run with an RBI double after a single in the 7th. Los Aguilas scored one run in the 5th and another in the 8th. They rallied in the top of the 9th with a pair of singles and a 3-run homer, plus a double, but that was all Caracas would allow.
Tigres de Aragua 4, Bravos de Margarita 1 — Los Tigres began the game with 3 runs in the top of the 1st, on two singles and three doubles. 1B Hector Gimenez drove in a run with his RBI single, and LF Lastings Milledge doubled. Los Tigres went on to record 11 hits. Milledge singled in the 4th, but was out at second when CF Jorge Cortes bounced into a double play. A single and a double added another run for Los Tigres in the 8th. Jhonathan Ramos pitched 2 innings for Los Bravos. In the 6th, he retired Los Tigres in order. Ramos began the top of the 7th with two ground outs (Gimenez and Milledge), then gave up a single to Cortes, another single, and hit C Raul Chavez with a pitch to load the bases. But he ended the inning with a pop out, leaving all three runners on base. Los Bravos were held to just 3 hits over the first 8 innings. Two of those hits came in the 4th, when Los Bravos loaded the bases on a hit batter, a walk, and a single. A sacrifice fly drove in their only run of the game. Another single loaded the bases again, but a strikeout ended the inning. Los Bravos threatened again in the bottom of the 9th, loading the bases again on 2 singles and an error. Los Tigres got out of the jam with a pop out in foul territory and a game-ending double play.
Not many winter league playoff games today, but a few player moves:
LHP Wil Ledezma had been DFA’ed right before Christmas, and yesterday he was claimed off waivers by the Blue Jays.
Both INF Delwyn Young and RHP Brian Bass signed minor league contracts with the Phillies today.
Earlier in the week, RHP Joe Martinez, who had also been DFA’ed by the Pirates shortly before Christmas, was traded to the Blue Jays for cash considerations.
Leones del Caracas 11, Bravos de Margarita 3 — Los Leones posted 14 hits, which was enough to make up for their 3 errors. Three singles and a Bravos’ fielding error gave Los Leones their first 3 runs in the 2nd inning. In the third, the first six Caracas batters reached base — a double, two singles, and three walks (including a walk by LF Mike Ryan) — then a sacrifice fly and another single gave Los Leones 5 runs. A 3-run homer in the 8th capped their scoring. Margarita scored one run in the 6th, with the help of one of those errors. An error by Ryan in left field, plus a walk and two singles (one by C JR House) brought in two more runs in the 9th. Ronald Uviedo earned the win for Caracas, going 6 innings and allowing only the unearned run in the 6th inning, on 3 hits and a walk, with 5 strikeouts.
Caribes de Anzoategui 5, Tigres de Aragua 4 — New Blue Jay Wil Ledezma came into the game for Los Tigres in the 6th inning with one run in and runners on the corners. Ledezma gave up a single, which broke a 4-4 tie, and eventually gave the win to Los Caribes. Ledezma also retired the side in order in the 7th. Los Caribes started the game with 3 runs in the bottom of the 1st, on a single, a double, an error, and a sacrifice fly. Los Tigres scored one run in the 2nd, when 1B Hector Gimenez walked, then scored on an RBI double. Gimenez added a 2-run homer in the 4th, and another homer in the 5th gave Aragua their 4 runs. LF Lastings Milledge singled and stole second base in the 6th, and advanced to third base on another single, but he got no further. C Raul Chavez went 0-for-3 for Los Tigres.
Looking in on Pirates’ players and friend in Monday’s winter league action:
Leones del Caracas 6, Cardenales de Lara 5 — Two runs in the bottom of the 9th gave Los Leones and Jose Ascanio the win. Los Cardenales were leading 5-4 in the top of the 8th, when Ascanio came in from the bullpen with one out and a runner on first base. Ascanio’s catcher picked the runner off first base, recorded as a caught stealing, then Ascanio got a ground out to end the inning. He gave up a single in the top of the 9th, but kept Los Cardenales from scoring. Then in the bottom of the 9th, with Ray Sadler coming in to play center field for Lara, Los Leones eked out a single and a walk. A passed ball on ball four put runners on the corners for Los Leones. A single into center field drove n the run from third, for the walk-off win. Ascanio was the pitcher of record, so was credited with his first Venezuelan League win.
Bravos de Margarita 4, Caribes de Anzoategui 0 — LF Jose Tabata went 0-for-3 with a walk for Los Caribes, who recorded 8 hits, but could not push any of their base runners across the plate. They left a total of 11 runners on base and were 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position. Los Bravos scored 3 runs in the 5th, on a double, two singles, a walk, and a fielding error. A solo homer added a fourth run in the 6th. Jhonathan Ramos came on to pitch for Margarita in the 7th, with two outs. He loaded the bases with a single and two walks, then was relieved, but due to Los Caribes’ lack of luck, another reliever got Tabata to fly out to end the inning, leaving three runners on base.
Aguilas de Zulia 6, Navegantes del Magallanes 3 — Fernando Nieve struggled through 2.2 innings and was eventually charged with the loss for Magallanes. He gave up a solo homer to the second batter of the game, then gave up two runs in the 2nd on two singles and a double. Three singles and a double steal brought in two more runs for Zulia in the 3rd, and that was all for Nieve — 5 runs on 8 hits, no walks, with 4 strikeouts. Two more singles added another run for Los Aguilas in the top of the 7th. Los Navegantes started their scoring in the bottom of the 7th. Former Pirate farmhand JR House, who made the jump over from the Dominican League, came into the game as a pinch-runner after a 2-out single. A walk and an RBI single allowed House to score Magallanes’ first run. House remained in the game to play first base, and he flied out in the 9th. A walk, a double, and a fielding error gave Los Navegantes 2 runs in the bottom of the 8th.
Tigres de Aragua 7, Tiburones de La Guaira 3 — Wil Ledezma also earned his first Venezuelan League win with 1.2 hitless and scoreless innings of work. Los Tigres started scoring in the bottom of the 1st, when SS Ronny Cedeno reached base on a fielding error, then scored on a double. C Raul Chavez blasted a 2-run homer in the 2nd, to give Aragua a 3-0 lead. Los Tiburones scored 2 runs in the top of the 3rd on three singles and two walks, then tied the score in the top of the 4th on a double, a bunt, and an RBI ground out. Ledezma came in from the bullpen in the 4th, and ended the 4th, then retired the side in order in the 5th. He was still the pitcher of record when Los Tigres scored 3 runs in the bottom of the 5th. Chavez walked, and moved to second base on CF Jorge Cortes’ sacrifice bunt. Cedeno singled, putting runners on the corners, then a sacrifice fly plated Chavez. A 2-run homer by DH Wilson Ramos brought in Cedeno. 1B Hector Gimenez also doubled after the homer. Three walks, including one by Gimenez, and a wild pitch gave Los Tigres an insurance run in the 8th.
A full Saturday night of action in the winter leagues:
Tiburones de La Guaira 9, Tigres de Aragua 5 — Three runs in the bottom of the 8th put the game out of reach for Los Tigres. Aragua put their first run on the board in the top of the 1st, when SS Ronny Cedeno singled, and came around to score on a wild pitch. Los Tiburones took the lead with 2 runs in the bottom of the inning and added their third run in the 2nd. Los Tigres tied the score in the top of the 5th. A single and two walks (one to 1B Hector Gimenez) loaded the bases, then back-to-back sacrifice flies (one by LF Lastings Milledge) brought in two runs. The tie did not last long — two doubles and a 2-run homer gave the lead back to La Guaira in the bottom of the frame. Aragua got within one run again in the 6th, with a walk, a passed ball, an RBI single by Gimenez and an RBI ground out, but it wasn’t enough when La Guaira scored again in their last at-bat. Cedeno singled again in the 8th, and was hit by a pitch. Gimenez walked twice more in the game, and C Raul Chavez singled and walked twice.
Navegantes del Magallanes 6, Caribes de Anzoategui 5 — Two singles and a 2-RBI double in the bottom of the 9th gave Los Navegantes the walk-off win. Los Caribes were onto the scoreboard first with a solo homer in the 2nd. Magallanes scored 3 unearned runs in the bottom of the 3rd, on two errors, three wild pitches by Caribes’ starter Chris Hayes, two walks, and a single. Magallanes added a run in the 4th, on two more walks and a single. LF Jose Tabata led off the top of the 6th for Los Caribes with a double. A single and a ground out drove in Tabata, then a walk, two singles, and a wild pitch gave Los Caribes 3 more runs, for a 5-4 lead. Corey Hamman relieved the Magallanes’ pitcher, and ended the 6th inning with a strikeout. He went on to pitch two more scoreless innings, allowing only one hit, with a total of 3 strikeouts. Tabata singled again and stole second base in the top of the 9th, but was left on base.
Aguilas de Zulia 3, Bravos de Margarita 2 — Jhonathan Ramos suffered the loss for Los Bravos. He had entered the game to finish the bottom of the 7th with a ground out, and the bottom of the 8th began with a batter reaching on a fielding error. A single and a triple brought in 2 runs for Zulia to break a 1-1 tie. Margarita scored an unearned run in the top of the 9th, but a double play ended the game before they could tie the score again.