Tag: Hector Gimenez
The final playoff game of the Caribbean winter leagues was played on Sunday, finishing up the Venezuelan League championship. The Caribbean Series begins on Wednesday and lasts six days (Feb 2nd - 7th), and from there, spring training will be right around the corner.
Caribes de Anzoategui 8, Tigres de Aragua 7 -- Los Caribes held on for the win in Game 7 of the Venezuelan championship series, despite a 9th inning rally by Los Tigres. Los Caribes had an early 6-0 lead, thanks to back-to-back homers (2-run and solo) in the 1st inning, and a 3-run homer in the 2nd inning. Los Tigres got onto the scoreboard in the top of the 3rd, using only one hit. A single, a hit batter, and a walk loaded the bases. Two runs were forced in, on when LF Lastings Milledge was hit by a pitch, and one when 1B Hector Gimenez walked. A wild pitch and a missed catch error by Los Caribes' pitcher allowed 2 more runs to score, and the score was 6-4. Los Caribes gained more ground in the 4th with two singles, a walk, and a 2-RBI single. A solo homer by Los Tigres in the top of the 5th put the score at 8-5. Los Caribes threatened in the bottom of the 6th, with a single and a double, but an on-target throw from Milledge in left field to C Raul Chavez let Chavez tag the lead runner out at the plate. Wil Ledezma came on in relief at that point. He walked the first batter he faced, then got a fly out. Ledezma was relieved, and after another walk to load the bases, a pop out ended the inning without a run scoring. Los Caribes also loaded the bases in the 7th inning, but a strikeout ended that inning and left all three on base. Los Tigres rallied in the top of the 9th, with two singles, including one by Chavez. Chavez was replaced by a pinch-runner. Two singles drove in two runs, bringing Los Tigres within one run of Los Caribes. That was as far as Aragua could get, though, and the game ended with runners on the corners. Los Caribes will advance to the Caribbean series.
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.
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.
Just 3 winter league playoff games on Sunday, as the Mexican Pacific League takes a travel day...
PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE
Leones de Ponce 4, Criollos de Caguas 1 -- Los Criollos out-hit Los Leones, but Los Criollos also left 10 runners stranded, while Ponce had only 5 runners left on base. Three errors by Los Criollos also contributed to their own demise. Los Leones scored in the bottom of the 1st with a walk, a stolen base with a throwing error, and an RBI single. A pair of walks, a bunt, and RBI ground out and an RBI single added 2 runs in the 3rd inning. Two errors, an intentional walk, and an RBI grounder gave Los Leones an insurance run in the 6th. Los Criollos scored their only run in the top of the 3rd, with a walk and a triple. SS Luis Figueroa and 3B Ramon Vazquez each had a single and a walk in the game, and all those times they were left on base.
Caribes de Anzoategui 8, Tigres de Aragua 5 -- A 4-run 3rd inning boosted Los Caribes for the win in the opener of the Venzuelan championship series. The game began with home runs dominating. Los Tigres' CF Hernan Iribarren opened the game with a home run. Los Caribes' lead-off batter CF Endy Chavez homered to begin the bottom of the inning. In the top of the 2nd, the first Aragua batter was hit by a pitch, and LF Lastings Milledge hit a 2-run homer. Los Caribes had another solo homer in the bottom of the frame. Los Caribes changed it up in the 3rd, with three doubles, followed by another homer, to take a 6-3 lead. Aragua got closer in the 6th, with solo homers (not back-to-back) by DH Hector Gimenez and Milledge. Los Caribes got some insurance with a run in both the 6th and 7th innings, both times on a single and a double. In addition to his two homers, Milledge walked and stole second base in the 4th.
Toros del Este 4, Estrellas de Oriente 2 -- Los Toros completed the 5-game sweep of the series with today's win over Los Estrellas. Pitching ruled this game. Los Toros recorded only 3 hits, and they scored their 4 runs in the 7th inning using only one hit. After 6 scoreless innings, a walk, a single, and a sacrifice fly brought in Los Toros first run in the 7th. A sacrifice fly complicated by both a fielding error and a throwing error gave them their second run, and after an intentional walk to load the bases, a hit batter and an unintentional walk forced in a run each. A hit batter with the bases loaded also forced in a run for Los Estrellas in the top of the 8th, and they also scored on an RBI single.
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.
Checking in on Pirates' players and friends in the winter league playoffs on Monday...
PUERTO RICAN LEAGUE
Criollos de Caguas 2, Senadores de San Juan 1 -- Los Criollos broke a 1-1 tie with a run in the bottom of the 9th. SS Luis Figueroa walked, and moved to second base on a balk. After an intentional walk, an RBI single let the speedy Figueroa score from second base for the walk-off win. The win moves Caguas into second place in the round robin tournament, with Los Leones de Ponce in first place, San Juan in third, and Carolina fourth.
Leones de Caracas 8, Tigres de Aragua 5 -- Los Tigres de Aragua posted 15 hits, but their 4 errors came back to hurt them. Caracas scored first, with 2 runs in the top of the 1st, on 3 singles and an error. Los Tigres responded with 2 runs in the bottom of the inning, on a walk, and 3 singles, including liners up the middle by 1B Hector Gimenez and LF Lastings Milledge. C Carlos Maldonado gave Los Leones the lead again in the top of the 4th with a solo home run. Milledge tied the score again in the bottom of the frame with a lead-off single, scoring on a double and a sacrifice fly. Then Aragua forged ahead to score 2 runs in the 5th, on a lead-off double, an RBI double by Gimenez, and an RBI single by Milledge. Two singles and an error gave them another run in the 6th, for a 6-3 lead. Caracas came closer in the 7th inning, when Maldonado led off with a walk. Another walk and two RBI singles brought in 2 runs, cutting Los Tigres' lead to 6-5. The top of the 9th began with a single, a sacrifice bunt, and an RBI double for Los Leones. A walk and a single added another run, but a fielding error by Milledge in left field allowed the go-ahead
run to score. Los Tigres could not answer in the bottom of the inning. 1B Raul Chavez singled for Los Tigres, but did not score. LF Mike Ryan was hitless for Los Leones. Jose Ascanio pitched the bottom of the 8th for Caracas. He gave up 2 singles, but left both runners on base. He was the pitcher of record when the winning runs scored in the top of the 9th, so was credited with the win.
Los Caribes de Anzoategui beat Los Aguilas de Zulia 5-2 in the other Venezuelan game. There is still another week to go in this round robin tournament. Tonight's results mean that Los Caribes, Los Leones, and Los Tigres are all tied in first place with identical 8-5 records.
The Dominican League round robin playoffs ended with Los Toros del Este on top. Los Estrellas de Oriente and Los Gigantes del Cibao tied for second place, and Los Leones del Escogido finished in fourth place. Los Estrellas will face Los Toros del Este in the championship series.
The Mexican Pacific League was off on Monday. Los Algodoneros de Guasave are leading Los Tomateros de Culiacan 3 games to 2 in the semifinal round of the playoffs. The winner of this 7-game series will face Los Yaquis de Obregon in the finals.
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 Pirates finished up a chilly mini-camp in Bradenton, and now there is just a month until pitchers and catchers report for spring training.
A few notes:
Wil Ledezma, who went to the Blue Jays last week (off waivers), was outrighted to the Blue Jays' minor league system.
Last year's Curve manager, Matt Walbeck, has found a job in the Braves' organization, managing at the A level.
RHP Jorge Julio has been signed to a minor league contract, but has not been invited to the major league camp for spring training. The Venezuelan native was first signed by the Expos in 1996. He reached as high as the A+ level in the Expos organization before being traded to the Orioles at the end of 2000. Julio made his major league debut with the Orioles and pitched in Baltiore from 2001 to 2005. In early 2006, he was traded to the Mets (as part of a deal for former Pirate Kris Benson), then subsequently traded to the Diamondbacks, to the Marlins, and to the Rockies. In January 2008, Julio signed with the Cleveland Indians, and appeared in 15 games, all in relief, in the major league level. He pitched only 17 innings, with a 5.60 ERA, and was released in early June. He was signed by the Braves in the same season, and did well for them at both the AAA level (2.04 ERA in 39 innings in 38 appearances) and at the major league level (0.73 ERA in 12 innings in 12 appearances). Julio split the 2009 season between three organizations: The Brewers, the Rays, and the Pirates, right here in Indianapolis. For the Indy Indians, Julio made just 4 relief appearances, allowing 7 runs on 8 hits in 5 innings. He also made 19 appearances (22 innings) for a 5.96 ERA for the AAA Durham Bulls, and 15 appearances (17 innings) for a 7.79 ERA for the Milwaukee Brewers. During that time, his walk rate rose while his strikeout rate plummetted. Julio pitched for Bridgeport in the independent Atlantic League in 2010, and did well there. In 55 appearances, he pitched 55 innings and allowed only 7 earned runs on 39 hits, with 57 strikeouts, for a 1.15 ERA. Julio has also had a strong showing in the Venezuelan Winter League over the past few months, with a 1.88 ERA for Los Caribes de Anzoategui. In 28.2 innings, he allowed 6 runs on 26 hits and 12 walks, with 22 strikeouts, and a 3-3 record and 6 saves. The Pirates are hoping that Julio, who will turn 32 in March, will be able to continue this trend in the 2011 season. Not inviting him to the big league camp seems to indicate that they want to see some proof, most likely at the AAA level.
Just a few winter league games on Thursday night (Click on "Read More")