Checking on a few Pirates’ players and friends in Sunday’s winter league playoff action:
Tigres de Aragua 5, Caribes de Anzoategui 3
A 4-run top of the 9th gave Los Tigres the win. Los Caribes got the scoring started with a solo home run in each of the first two innings. CF Gorkys Hernandez walked to begin the bottom of the 3rd. He scored on a single and a sacrifice fly. Los Tigres scored one run in the 2nd on a single, an error, and an RBI double. Los Tigres burst out with 4 runs in the top of the 9th. They led off with a walk and a single. A fielding error let the lead runner scored. Jorge Cortes walked to load the bases. An RBI ground out brought in one run, then a sacrifice fly and an error by Hernandez allowed 2 more runs to score. Los Caribes put a runner on third base with a triple in the bottom of the 9th, but could not push him across the plate.
And, Los Aguilas are still winless, falling to Los Tiburones de La Guaira 16 -5.
Aguilas Cibaenas 3, Leones del Escogido 2
Nelson Figueroa made the start for Los Leones, and suffered the loss as he was responsible for all three of Los Aguilas’ runs. Two singles and a 2-RBI double by RF Brandon Moss gave Los Aguilas the lead in the bottom of the 1st. Figueroa retired Los Aguilas in order in the 2nd and 3rd innings, and gave up a single to open the 4th, but erased that batter with a double play. He gave up two singles and a sacrifice fly for Los Aguilas’ third run in the 5th. Figueroa surrendered 8 hits and a walk, and struck out 2 batters. Los Leones scored one run in the top of the 5th on a double and an error. They scored again in the 6th with a walk, a stolen base, a wild pitch, and an RBI ground out. Moss also singled in the 9th inning.
Tigres del Licey 3, Gigantes del Cibao 2
Los Gigantes struck first with a run in the 3rd inning on a single, a stolen base, and an RBI single. When a single, a walk, and a fielding error put runners on the corners in the 4th, another RBI single drove in Los Gigantes’ second run. Los Tigres came back with a run in the bottom of the 4th. C Ronny Paulino doubled in a run after a single. Los Tigres tied the score in the bottom of the 7th, with former Pirate Juan Perez on the mound for Los Gigantes. A pinch-hit double and an RBI single drove in the tying run. Former Indy Indian CJ Nitkowski pitched the 6th inning for Los Gigantes. He walked the first batter he faced, but retired the next three batters in order. Los Tigres threatened in the bottom of the 9th, when Paulino led off with a single and was replaced by a pinch-runner. A bunt and a ground out put the pinch-runner on third, but he could not score. Los Gigantes threatened too, in the top of the 10th. They loaded the bases with a single, a double, and a walk, but a ground out ended the inning with all three on base. In the bottom of the 10th, Los Tigres also loaded the bases, with two walks and a single. A walk forced in the winning run for Los Tigres. Romulo Sanchez pitched 1.1 scoreless and hitless innings for Los Tigres and was credited with the win.
PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE
Criollos de Caguas 4, Indios de Mayaguez 0
Five Caguas’ pitchers held Los Indios scoreless, tying the championship series at 1 game each. Los Criollos scored on 3 singles and a throwing error. They added a solo homer in the 5th, an a run on a single, a double, and a sacrifice fly in the 6th. Reliever Justin Thomas pitched to one batter for Los Indios — he took the mound in the 8th with one runner on and two outs, and got the ground out to end the inning.