Cheering for Pirates’ players and friends in Sunday’s winter league action…
The Dominican League’s last regular season games will be on Tuesday.
Tigres de Aragua 8, Leones de Caracas 3 (Game 1) — Los Tigres won this battle of the big cats with a 6-run 3rd inning. CF Jorge Cortes led off the inning with a single, was bunted to second base, and scored on an RBI single. SS Ronny Cedeno lined out, but the next two batters singled, driving in a run. 1B Hector Gimenez was hit by a pitch, then LF Lastings Milledge brought in two runs with his RBI single. A triple added two more runs. Cortes walked in his second at-bat in the inning, but a fly out ended the rally. Los Tigres added another run in the 5th on a single, Gimenez’s ground rule double, and Milledge’s sacrifice fly — his third RBI of the game. Milledge singled again in a rally in the 7th, when Aragua slipped in their 8th run. Caracas did all their scoring in the bottom of the 7th, leading off the inning with two singles and a 3-run homer.
Tigres 6, Leones 5 (Game 2) — It was Cortes who had 3 hits in the night-cap, while Cedeno, Gimenez, and C Raul Chavez were hitless. Wil Ledezma made the start for Los Tigres, and pitched 2 innings, allowing a run in the 1st. Aragua tied the score in the 2nd with a walk, a single by Milledge, and an RBI single by Cortes. Ledezma was relieved to begin the 3rd, and that was when Caracas scored 2 more runs on a walk, a single, and a triple. Another triple and a sacrifice fly gave Los Leones a 4-1 lead in the 5th. Los Tigres came roaring back in the top of the 6th, to take the lead. The inning began with 3 consecutive walks, including on Milledge and Gimenez. A triple cleared the bases, then Cortes’ double gave Aragua a 5-4 lead. Another single and a walk loaded the bases for Aragua, but a double play ended the inning and the rally. Caracas tied the score again in the bottom of the 7th, sending the game into extra innings. Jose Ascanio took the mound for Caracas in the top of the 7th, when he retired the side in order. In the bottom of the 8th, pinch-hitter Miguel Perez led off with a single, and Cortes bunted him to second base. A single drove in the speedy Perez from second base with the go-ahead run.
Navegantes del Magallanes 8, Tiburones de La Guaira 2 — Los Tiburones had the early lead, but Los Navegantes scored 7 of their runs in the final three innings, including a 4-run 8th. Jean Machi earned his 7th save with 1.1 scoreless innings, allowing only one hit.
Caribes de Anzoategui 8, Cardenales de Lara 7 (Game 1) — Six runs in the 2nd inning gave Los Caribes enough runs to outlast Lara’s late-inning rallies. DH Jose Tabata singled and scored on a 2-run homer in the top of the 1st. Los Cardenales got one of the runs back in the bottom of the inning, but Los Caribes had their big 2nd inning. With one out, a walk and four straight singles, including Tabata’s second single, brought in two runs, then a grand slam by LF Juan Camacho gave Los Caribes an 8-1 lead.
Caribes 4, Cardenales 2 (Game 2) — Four runs in the 6th inning gave Los Caribes what they needed. The inning began with a double and a single, then Jose Tabata lined another single into center field, bringing in one run. Three more singles and a sacrifice fly added 3 more runs. Los Cardenales scored one run in the 2nd on a walk, a single, and an RBI ground out. A double, a wild pitch, and a single gave Lara their second run in the 4th. CF Ray Sadler went 0-for-3 for Lara.
Another minor league free agent signed: Pitcher Neal Cotts signed with the Yankees.
Looking in on some of the Pirates’ players and friends in Thursday’s winter league action.. the Dominican League has the night off, and there were some games postponed in Venezuela.
Leones del Caracas 9, Aguilas de Zulia 5 – A 4-run 8th inning made the difference for Los Leones. Jose Ascanio pitched a scoreless bottom of the 8th for Caracas. He gave up a walk and a single with one out, but then got a double play to get out of the inning.
Cardenales de Lara 3, Tigres de Aragua 0 — LF Lastings Milledge, 1B Hector Gimenez, and C Raul Chavez each posted a single for Los Tigres, but none could come around to score. Both Milledge and Gimenez had their singles in the 4th, after a walk. The lead runner tried to score from second on Milledge’s single, but Lara CF Ray Sadler’s throw to the plate was right on targer, and the runner was out at home. Sadler went 0-for-2 and was hit by a pitch.
PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE
Criollos de Caguas 2, Indios de Mayaguez 1 (Game 1) — Los Indios scored a run with a lead-off triple and a single in the top of the 1st, then did not score again for the rest of the game, despite out-hitting Los Criollos 8-5. 3B Ramon Vazquez started a rally for Los Criollos with a 2-out walk in the 2nd inning. A pair of singles brought him around to score and tie the game at 1-1. A walk, a throwing error, and an RBI double gave Caguas the go-ahead run in the 5th. SS Luis Figueroa was hitless in 3 trips to the plate.
Criollos 2, Indios 1 (Game 2) — Yes, same score in the night-cap. Three Caguas pitchers combined for a one-hitter. Los Indios scored their run in the 5th, beginning with a walk and ending with a sacrifice fly. Los Criollos scored one run in each of the 3rd and 4th innings. Neither Figueroa nor Vazquez got into this game.
Leones de Ponce 2, Senadores de San Juan 1 — Really, same score again. RJ Rodriguez earned his 10th save of the season with a scoreless 9th inning for Ponce. He walked the first batter, then retired the next three to end the game.
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.
Lots of talking and speculating at the Winter Meetings, but no action yet.
And not much action in the winter leagues on Monday, though that is not unusual for a Monday.
Bravos de Margarita 9, Leones del Caracas 7 — Pirates’ farmhand Jhonathan Ramos earned his third win for Los Bravos. Ramos entered the game in the 6th inning with the score tied at 4-4, one out, and a runner on first base. A fielding error put a second runner on base, and an RBI single with another error brought in the go-ahead run. With a runner on third base, the next batter tapped a ball back to the mound, where Ramos scooped it up and fired to the shortstop covering second, hoping to start a double play. They only got the runner coming into second base, though, and the second run of the inning scored. Ramos got a strikeout to end the inning, but Los Leones had taken a 6-4 lead. Los Bravos came right back in the top of the 7th. A walk, a single, a passed ball by Leones’ C Carlos Maldonado, and a sacrifice fly brought in one run. Then a hit batter and a 3-run homer gave Los Bravos an 8-6 lead. Ramos started the bottom of the 7th, and gave up a solo home run. Los Bravos got that run back with two singles and a sacrifice fly in the top of the 8th. Ronald Belisario earned his 12th save for Los Bravos with a 1-2-3 9th inning. Maldonado went 0-for-4 for Los Leones.
Puerto Rican League:
Leones de Ponce 3, Criollos de Caguas 2 — Former Pirate farmhand RJ Rodriguez earned his 8th save for Los Leones with a scoreless final inning, even though he gave up 2 singles. Ponce scored a run in the 1st and 2 more in the 2nd. Caguas scored one run in the 2nd, then took advantage of a bases-loaded walk to score again in the 3rd.
Cheering for the Pirates’ players and friends in Thursday’s winter league action:
Toros del Este 6, Tigres del Licey 0 — Los Tigres were shut-out on 6 hits. They had 2 runners on base in a few innings, but were never able to bring them around to score. New Pirate 1B Andy Marte did not start, but came in to play at first in the 5th inning. He bounced into a double play in the 6th, and was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the 9th. DH Ronny Paulino and LF Jake Fox were both hitless, though Fox walked in the 1st inning. Denny Bautista pitched the final inning for Los Tigres, and gave up 2 runs on a single, a walk, and a double. SS Pedro Ciriaco went 0-for-3 for Los Toros.
Gigantes del Cibao 3, Estrellas de Oriente 2 — Mike Dubee earned his second Dominican League win for los Gigantes with 1.1 scoreless innings of work. Each team started with a run in the 1st inning — on a homer for Los Estrellas and on a double, a bunt, and a sacrifice fly for Los Gigantes. After the homer, Los Gigantes’ starter Roman Colon retired the next 10 batters in order. Dubee relieved Colon to begin the 5th inning. He gave up a double and a walk, but got out of the jam with a strikeout and a ground out. Dubee started the 6th inning with a fly out and a walk, then he was replaced by Juan Perez. Perez finished that inning, but gave up a run on a double and an error in the 7th. Los Gigantes’ C JR House singled to lead off the 5th, then scored on a sacrifice bunt and a single. A solo homer gave Los Gigantes’ one more run in the 6th. House also singled in the 2nd inning.
PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE
Criollos de Caguas 15, Indios de Mayaguez 2 — Los Criollos posted 21 hits and scored in all but one of the first 7 innings, including 4 in the 2nd and 5 in the 6th. SS Luis Figueroa singled and doubled and scored twice. 3B Ramon Vazquez singled twice and drove in 2 runs.
Leones de Ponce 3, Senadores de San Juan 0 — Another shut-out, as Los Senadores were held to just 2 hits. Starter Ben Snyder (Rangers, and Ball State University) gave up a walk in the 3rd inning, and lone singles in the 4th and 6th innings, as he pitched 7 innings for the win. RJ Rodriguez earned his 7th Save with a perfect 9th inning.
Cardenales de Lara 6, Tigres de Aragua 5 — A single, two walks, and a sacrifice fly gave Los Cardenales the go-ahead run in the top of the 8th, then held on for the win. Lara put up 13 hits, while Los Tigres had 7 hits, including 2 singles by SS Ronny Cedeno, and 2 doubles by LF Lastings Milledge. Lara scored 4 runs in the 3rd and one more in the 5th. Cedeno singled, stole second, and scored in the 1st inning. He singled again in the 6th to begin a rally. Two walks (one by C Hector Gimenez), a single, and Milledge’s first double, brought in 3 runs for Los Tigres in that inning. Aragua tied the score in the 7th, on an error, a bunt by Cedeno, and an RBI single. That rally was cut short when Romulo Sanchez came on in relief for Lara and ended the inning with two strikeouts. Milledge doubled again in the 8th inning and stole third base, but was out at home on a fielder’s choice.
MEXICAN PACIFIC LEAGUE
Venados de Mazatlan 4, Tomateros de Culiacan 2 — LF Rogelios Noris led off the top of the 6th with his 5th double of the season for Los Venados. That sparked a 4-run rally, with three singles driving in three runs, and three walks forcing in a fourth run. Former Pirate SS Luis Cruz drove in Culiacan’s runs with a 2-run homer in the 4th.