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Checking in with Pirates’ players and friends in the Winter Leagues MEXICAN PACIFIC LEAGUE Venados de Mazatlan 7, Algodoneros de Guasave 5 Guasave took an early lead with a… Read more
Catching up with a few days’ worth of winter league playoff results:
PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE
Criollos de Caguas 7, Leones de Ponce 5 – Los Criollos won the Puerto Rican League championship with a win in Game 7 of the series. Los Leones got onto the scoreboard first, scratching out a run in the top of the 1st. Los Criollos took a 4-1 lead in the 3rd, with an RBI double and a 3-run homer. Ponce answered with their own 3-run homer in the top of the 4th, tying the game. Each team scored one run in the 5th. Ponce loaded the bases with a walk and two singles, then had their run forced in with a walk. Los Criollos scored when SS Luis Figueroa led off with a single, raced to third on another single, and scored on a sacrifice fly. After two quiet innings, Los Criollos rallied again in the bottom of the 8th. A single and a fielding error put two runners on base, and a fly out and a stolen base moved both runners into scoring position. A line drive into right field for a single drove in the go-ahead run and an insurance run.
MEXICAN PACIFIC LEAGUE
Algodoneros de Guasave 5, Yaquis de Obregon 4 – Los Yaquis took the early lead with a 2-run homer in the 2nd and a solo homer in the 3rd. They scored a 4th run in the 5th inning. Guasave got their offense going in the 5th inning with 2 runs, then tied the score with a pair of solo homers, including one by 1B Yurendell de Caster in the 8th. De Caster also singled in the game. In the top of the 9th, Gusave scored the winning run on a throwing error by the Obregon shortstop. That tied the series at 3 games each, and forced a seventh game.
Yaquis de Obregon 5, Algodoneros de Guasave 2 – A 4-run 4th inning pushed Los Yaquis over Guasave. A lead-off homer, plus 3 more runs and a 2-RBI single drove in those 4 runs. Both of Guasave’s runs came on solo homers by Marshal McDougall. The win gave the championship to Obregon.
Ten weeks until Opening Day for the minor league season…. just in case anyone besides me is counting.
Three playoff games on Wednesday evening, plus the Australians begin their playoffs early on Thursday morning. I’ll be away from the computer for a couple of days, but we’ll catch up after that.
PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE
Criollos de Caguas 7, Leones de Ponce 2 – Los Criollos forced a seventh game with a win over Los Leones. Caguas broke a 1-1 tie with 2 runs in the top of the 4th, on a hit batter and a pair of RBI doubles. That 3-1 score lasted until the top of the 9th, when JR Rodriguez took the mound in relief for Ponce. Rodriguez had an uncharacteristically tough night, giving up a single and a walk, and then having a batter reaches on a fielding error to load the bases. Then Caguas’ 3B Rey Navarro smashed a grand slam to seal Los Leones’ fate. Ponce added one more run with a single, a walk, and a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 9th. The final game of the series will be played on Friday night.
Tigres de Aragua 8, Caribes de Anzoategui 4 – Los Tigres won their first game of the championship series tonight, with both LF Lastings Milledge and 1B Hector Gimenez contributing an RBI. The game began in a shaky way for Los Tigres, as the first three Caribes’ batters in the top of the first all walked, then a run scored on a sacrifice fly. A solo home run began the top of the 2nd for Los Caribes, and a single and a double added another run. Los Tigres got going in the bottom of the 2nd with a double and a fielding error, then an RBI double by Milledge and a sacrifice fly by Gimenez. Aragua tied the score at 3-3 in the bottom of the 5th with two walks, including one by CF Jorge Cortes, and an RBI single. Los Caribes went ahead with a solo homer in the top of the 6th, but Los Tigres tied it again in the bottom of the frame with three singles, one by Gimenez. Aragua took a definitive lead in the 7th with a 3-run homer, then added an insurance run in the 8th with a walk, a hit batter, and an RBI single. Wil Ledezma came out to pitch the top of the 8th for Aragua. He walked the first batter he faced, then got a strikeout, then another walk, and was removed. Another reliever came on to strike out the next two batters to end the inning.
Again just two winter league playoff games on Tuesday night — the Venezuelan championship has the night off.
Signing news: C Robinzon Diaz has signed a minor league contract with the Rangers.
PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE
Leones de Ponce 4, Criollos de Caguas 2 – Los Leones took a 3-2 game lead in this 7-game series with a win tonight. Ponce got right down to business with a run on two hits, a throwing error, and a ground out in the top of the 1st. Los Criollos tied the score with a walk, a double, and an RBI ground out in the bottom of the 1st. Los Leones made use of another RBI grounder to break the tie in the top of the 3rd, with a run driven in after a single and a double. An RBI single made it 3-1. Los Criollos got within one run in the 6th, scoring on a single, a walk, and (guess what?) an RBI ground out. A solo home run added an insurance run for Ponce in the top of the 9th. Caguas threatened in the bottom of the 9th, when SS Luis Figueroa was hit by a pitch and moved to third base on a ground-rule double. A walk loaded the bases, but two fly outs ended the rally and the game. Figueroa singled in the 3rd and walked in the 7th, but could not come around to score. Ramon Vazquez struck out in a pinch-hitting appearance.
MEXICAN PACIFIC LEAGUE
Algodoneros de Guasave 2, Yaquis de Obregon 1 – Pitchers ruled in this game, as Guasave tied the 7-game series at 2 games each. Los Yaquis were held to 4 hits, and scored their only run with 3 of those hits, all singles, in the top of the 8th. Their only other hit, another single, came in the 1st inning. Guasave had just 6 hits, and half of those came in the first two innings. Their first run was a solo home run in the 6th inning. they scored again in the 7th inning, when a single, a sacrifice bunt by 1B Yurendell de Caster, and two walks loaded the bases. An RBI single brought in what turned out to be the winning run. De Caster had one of the Guasave singles in the 2nd inning.
Just two winter league playoff games tonight, since the Dominican League is done and the Puerto Rican League has a night off. That 7-game series is tied at 2 games each (Ponce and Caguas).
In other news, former Pirate Andy LaRoche signed a minor league deal with the Oakland A’s.
Caribes de Anzoategui 8, Tigres de Aragua 7 – Los Caribes took a 2-game lead in the championship series with tonight’s win over Los Tigres. Los Tigres began this game almost like last night’s, with a solo homer in the top of the 1st. Los Caribes came back with a 2-RBI double and an RBI single in the bottom of the inning, for a 3-1 lead. Aragua began the top of the 2nd with three consecutive walks, including to DH Hector Gimenez and LF Lastings Milledge. A throwing error on a pickoff attempt (trying to pick Milledge off first) allowed a run to score. Then Los Tigres took a 5-3 lead in the 3rd. A walk, a double, and a fielder’s choice brought in one run. A single loaded the bases, then a single by Gimenez and a walk by Milledge both drove in a run. But Los Caribes regained the lead in the 5th. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases. A hit batter forced in a run, then a bases-clearing double added 3 more runs, to give Los Caribes a 7-5 lead. A solo homer gave Los Caribes their final run in the 7th. Los Tigres scored twice more — one in the 7th on a walk, a single, and an RBI ground outs, then a solo homer in the top of the 8th. Wil Ledezma pitched the bottom of the 8th for Los Tigres. He hit the first batter he faced, then turned a bunt back to the mound into a force out at second base. Two strikeouts ended the inning.
MEXICAN PACIFIC LEAGUE
Algodoneros de Guasave 12, Yaquis de Obregon 3 — Guasave picked up an early lead with 3 runs in the 2nd inning, on three singles and an error. They added to that lead with a run in the 4th and a solo homer in the 5th. Then they put the game out of reach with a 6-run 7th inning, which featured a lead-off triple, two RBI singles, a double, and a 3-run homer by 1B Yurendell de Caster. De Caster also drove in a run in the 8th with an RBI ground out. Obregon scratched out a run in the 6th and had a 2-run homer in the 8th, as they managed only 4 hits in the game. Each team committed 2 errors. Los Yaquis lead the 7-game series 2-1.
Cheering for the Pirates’ players and friends in the winter league playoff games on Saturday night…
Tigres de Aragua 5, Leones de Caracas 2 – The Big Cats had to have a one-game playoff because they finished tied for second place in the round robin tournament. Former Pirate farmhand Ronald Uviedo made the start for Los Leones, and while he made it through the first inning, Los Tigres got to him in the next three innings. DH Hector Gimenez blasted a solo homer in the 2nd inning. A walk, a sacrifice bunt by CF Jorge Cortes, and two RBI’s on a double and a single gave Aragua another 2 runs in the 3rd inning. LF Lastings Milledge started the 4th inning rally with a walk, moved to second on a ground out, and to third on a wild pitch. An RBI single plated Milledge, and sent Uviedo to the showrs. The Caracas reliever gave up a single to Cortes, then another RBI single gave Aragua their final run. Caracas scored their first run on a solo homer by LF Mike Ryan in the 2nd inning. Ryan also singled in the 7th inning, and came around to score from first base on 2B Jose Castillo’s RBI double. Castillo singled in the bottom of the 9th, and C Carlos Maldonado reached base on an error, and was replaced by a pinch-runner. With two outs, Wil Ledezma came on to make the final out, earning a save. Los Tigres will now face Los Caribes in the championship series.
Toros del Este 11, Estrellas de Oriente 2 – Los Toros posted 14 hits as they ran over Los Estrellas, who hurt their own cause with 6 errors. The scoring began with 3 runs in the top of the 1st. SS Pedro Ciriaco began a rally in the 3rd with a lead-off single. He scored on a fielding error and a single, and an RBI ground out brought in another run. A walk, a single, and another error in the 4th made the score 6-0. Los Estrellas got onto the scoreboard with a solo homer in the 6th, and scored again with two singles in the 7th. Los Toros kept going, though, scoring 2 runs in the 7th on yet another error, a walk, and a double. Ciriaco walked in the 8th, and scored on a 3-run homer. Ciriaco singled in the 6th as well. Franquelis Osoria pitched the top of the 9th for Los Estrellas, and worked around his teammates’ 6th error to keep Los Toros from scoring in that inning. Los Toros now lead the championship series 4 games to none, and need one more for the series sweep.
The winter league playoffs are winding down. The Puerto Rican League championship series (best of 7) between Los Criollos de Caguas and Los Leones de Ponce will begin on Wednesday. The Dominican League championship series will be played between Los Estrellas de Oriente and Los Toros del Este, and that series (best of 9) will also begin on Wednesday.
Caribes de Anzoategui 4, Bravos de Margarita 2 – Jean Machi pitched a perfect top of the 9th inning for Margarita, but it was too late. Los Bravos scored first, with a solo homer in the 4th. Los Caribes tied the score in the 6th with a run on a single and a double. They added 2 unearned runs in the 7th, started with a fielding error and a bunt. With two outs, Jhonathan Ramos came on in relief for Margarita, but he gave up a double and a single, each of which drove in a run. Another solo home run gave Los Caribes an insurance run in the top of the 8th. Los Bravos rallied in the bottom of the 8th, scoring on three doubles, but the rally ended there, giving Los Caribes the win.
Tigres de Aragua 4, Aguilas de Zulia 2 – LF Lastings Milledge started Los Tigres’ 3-run rally with a lead-off single in the 2nd inning. A sacrifice bunt with a throwing error and a single with a fielding error brought in two runs, and a sacrifice fly added the third run. CF Jorge Cortes also doubled for Aragua in that inning. Milledge worked the second of two walks in the 5th inning, and an insurance run came in on an RBI single. Milledge also walked in the 3rd inning. Zulia scored one run in the 6th on a double, a single, and a sacrifice fly, and they also collected a solo homer in the 8th.
MEXICAN PACIFIC LEAGUE
Algodoneros de Guasave 8, Tomateros de Culiacan 2 – Guasave had two big innings in their win. The 5th began with a solo homer, then a hit batter, two singles, and a ground out added 2 more runs. They scored 4 more in the 7th, after two outs had been recorded. A hit batter and two singles brought in one run. Another hit batter loaded the bases, and an RBI single plated a run. 1B Yurendell de Caster drove in 2 more runs with a double. SS Luis Cruz went 0-for-4 for Culiacan. The win gives Guasave the series win (4 games to 2) and advances them to the championship round, where they will face Los Yaquis de Obregon, beginning on Friday.
Adelaide Bite 6, Brisbane Bandits 1 – DH Quincy Latimore was back in action in Australia early on Wednesday morning with the Bite. He walked in his first at-bat, then in his second trip to the plate, he drove in the Bite’s first two runs with an RBI double. Two walks and a wild pitch had given the Bite two runners in scoring position in the top of the 3rd, ready for Latimore to bring them in. The Bandits got one run back in the bottom of the 4th. Adelaide came back with another run on a hit batter, a walk, and a double in the 6th. The Bite added 3 more runs in the top of the 9th, beginning with a solo homer. A double, two singles, and a sacrifice fly plated two more runs. Latimore reached base on an error in the 8th, and was replaced by a pinch-runner.
Cheering for Pirates’ players and friends in the few winter league playoff games on Sunday….
Gigantes del Cibao 8, Toros del Este 2 — A 7-run 7th inning by Los Gigantes included a 2-run homer and a 3-run homer, and it gave them all the firepower they would need. Former Indy Indian Tim Harikkala finished the 5th inning after Los Toros scored their runs, then loaded the bases with a double and two walks in the 6th, though another reliever was able to end the inning without a run scoring. Juan Perez pitched the 8th inning for Los Gigantes and struck out the side.
PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE
Leones de Ponce 7, Gigantes de Carolina 6 – 2B Benji Gonzalez singled and tripled for Los Gigantes, but Ponce pulled it out with 2 runs in the bottom of the 10th. Los Gigantes began the game with 3 runs in the top of the 1st. They added a run in the 6th on a single and Gonzalez’s RBI triple. A double and a single gave them another run in the 7th. Los Leones scored one run in the 5th, then tied the score with 3 walks and a grand slam in the 7th. The game went into extra innings, but Carolina quickly scored a run in the top of the 10th with a single and a double. But in the bottom of the frame, Ponce had a runner reach base on an error, and a 2-run homer gave them the walk-off win. Gonzalez also singled in the 4th but was caught stealing.
Senadores de San Juan 8, Criollos de Caguas 2 – Another game with 3 runs scored in the top of the 1st, and Los Criollos were chasing Los Senadores for the rest of the game. Los Criollos scored their runs in the 7th, on a pair of doubles and an RBI single by 3B Ramon Vazquez. SS Luis Figueroa singled in the 4th, but was left on base.
A few signing notes for former Pirates, all minor league contracts:
1B Brad Eldred signed with the Giants, P Ian Snell and INF Ramon Vazquez signed with the Cardinals, and OF Matt Kata signed with the Rangers.
Cheering for a few Pirates’ players and friends in the winter league playoffs….
PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE
Leones de Ponce 2, Criollos de Caguas 1 – RJ Rodriguez earned his 3rd save of the playoffs with a perfect 9th inning of work. Los Leones scored their runs in the 4th, on three straight hits — a single and two doubles. Los Criollos’ only run came in the top of the 6th, on a double, a ground out by SS Luis Figueroa which moved the runner to third, and a RBI single. 3B Ramon Vazquez singled to lead off the 5th for Los Criollos, but he was caught stealing second base.
Gigantes de Carolina 5, Senadores de San Juan 4 – Benji Gonzalez made the start at second base for Los Gigantes, and he scored their first run. In the bottom of the 1st, Gonzalez singled, advanced to third on a throwing error, and scored on a sacrifice fly. San Juan scored 3 runs in the top of the 2nd, and Los Gigantes countered with a run in the bottom of the 3rd, on 3 singles. They tied the score in the 7th with a double, a hit batter, and an RBI single. The tie continued into the top of the 10th, when Los Senadores took the lead with a single and a double. But four singles in the bottom of the inning drove in 2 runs to give Los Gigantes the win.
The Dominican and Puerto Rican Leagues wind up their round-robin playoff series this weekend, while the Venezuelans continue theirs for another week or so.
PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE
Criollos de Caguas 5, Gigantes de Carolina 2 – Los Criollos began the scoring with a fly out-RBI for 3B Ramon Vazquez after two singles. An RBI single gave them a run in the 3rd, and a 2-run homer made it 4-0 in the 5th. Los Criollos wrapped it up with a run in the top of the 7th, on two singles, a walk, and a throwing error. Carolina scratched out a run in both the 7th and 8th innings. SS Luis Figueroa singled and walked for Los Criollos, but did not score.
Leones de Ponce 7, Senadores de San Juan 2 – A 4-run inning in the top of the 8th gave Los Leones the win. San Juan out-hit Ponce, 10 – 9, but they couldn’t bring the runners around, leaving 11 on base. RJ Rodriguez pitched the bottom of the 9th for Ponce, but gave up three consecutive singles to open the inning, which drove in one run. He struck out two, then loaded the bases with another single, then ended the inning with a grounder force out.
Aguilas de Zulia 7, Bravos de Margarita 4 – Los Bravos got the game started with 3 runs in the top of the 1st, on three singles and two throwing errors. But Los Aguilas scored a run in the bottom of the 1st, another in the 3rd, and took the lead with a 3-run homer in the 5th. They added a run on a double and a triple in the 6th, and their 7th run on a double, a hit batter, and a single in the 7th. Jhonathan Ramos came on in relief for Los Bravos after that run scored in the 7th, and he ended the inning with a ground out. Ramos came back out to begin the bottom of the 8th. The first batter of the inning reached on a fielding error, then Ramos gave up a single. A ground out and a line out followed, and then Ramos was relieved. Another ground out ended the inning without a run scoring.
Caribes de Anzoategui 6, Leones de Caracas 5 – This one took 13 innings to decide. Los Leones broke a 2-2 tie in the top of the 8th when C Carlos Maldonado started a rally with a single. He was replace by a pinch-runner, who scored on an RBI single. Los Caribes tied the score again with a 2-run homer in the bottom of the 9th, and the game went into extras. Neither team could get much going in the 10th or 11th, and though Los Caribes threatened in the bottom of the 12th, they still could not get a run across. Los Leones broke the tie in the top of the 13th. A double, an intentional walk, and a fielder’s choice loaded the bases. A grounder to third was fired back to the plate, for a force out at home. Then LF Mike Ryan, who had already singled twice and walked three times in the game, grounded to second base. The runner going from first to second was out, but Ryan was able to beat out the throw to first, and a run scored. But Los Caribes were not done yet — a single and two walks loaded the bases in the bottom of the frame, and a line drive single into left field drove in two runs for the win. Jose Ascanio pitched a perfect inning in the bottom of the 8th for Caracas.