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 4-run bottom of the 1st inning, which included a 3-run inside-the-park home run by 3B Marshall McDougall. Not to be outdone, Mazatlan’s CF Ruben Rivera led off the top of the 2nd with his own inside-the-park home run. A double and a single...
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.