It’s frustrating for a pitcher not to earn the win after a great outing. But after a pitchers’ duel like the Mazatlan-Obregon game on Thursday night, it’s satisfying just to come away with a win knowing that your bullpen was right behind you and your offense finally pushed a run across when it mattered most.
Mexican Pacific League: Venados de Mazatlan 1, Yaquis de Obregon 0 (11 innings)
This pitching in this game was fabulous until the very end and only an improbable series of events capped off by 9th-hitting catcher Mario Santana brought it to a close. Ex-Rays right-hander Jeff Bennett was excellent in the start for the Venados, going 6 innings allowing just 3 hits and a walk. He did not strike out a batter, but his groundout to flyout ratio was an outstanding 11-2. But on the other side, Arturo Lopez went 6 innings working around 6 hits and 3 walks while striking out 1. Neither pitcher was overpowering at all, but both did everything they could to keep the other side off the board. The game remained scoreless as both bullpens were great as well. Matt Buschmann entered the game in the 9th for Mazatlan and had a perfect inning with 2 strikeouts, but he had a tougher time in the 10th. Jesse Castillo singled off Buschmann to begin the inning, was bunted to second base, and a flyball moved him to third. Buschmann then intentionally walked ex-Rays minor leaguer Iker Franco. But Buschmann escaped the jam, getting Adan Munoz to ground out to first. The following half-inning, the Venados has two on with one out when a wild pitch moved the runners to second and third. Then Chris Walker was bizarrely caught stealing home and suddenly there were 2 outs with a runner on third. But Santana delivered the go-ahead single to give Mazatlan the victory and improve Buschmann’s record on the season to 4-1. Buschmann is now 4-1 with a 1.46 ERA, and 11 strikeouts versus 3 walks in 8 appearances and 12.1 IP for the Venados.
Naranjeros de Hermosillo 6, Algodoneros de Guasave 2
Jorge Cantu stayed hot, going 1 for 3 with a walk and 2 runs scored. Cantu continues to hit out of his mind, managing a .333/.488/.767 line in his last 10 games with 4 homers, 11 RBI, and 9 strikeouts against 9 walks, and his seasonal numbers are now .261/.373/.553 with 13 homers, 42 RBI, and 45 strikeouts against 27 walks in 45 games.
Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League (Puerto Rico): Gigantes de Carolina 7, Atenlenses de Manati 6
Jesus Feliciano had a great game for Carolina, going 1 for 3 with 2 walks, a stolen base, and a run scored, and Felipe Lopez went 0 for 2 with a walk, but the story in this game has to be ex-Twins minor leaguer Deinys Suarez. Appearing out of the bullpen for Carolina, Suarez proceeded to go 5 innings allowing 3 runs on 3 hits, not that impressive, but he actually struck out 9 while walking 2. Just 23 times since 1918 has a reliever struck out 9 or more in 5 or less innings or relief, and just twice did such a pitcher allow 3 or more runs.
Venezuelan Winter League: Aguilas del Zulia 4, Tiburones de La Guaira 3
All the scoring in this game happened in the 1st inning. Cesar Suarez had a good game in the loss for La Guaira, going 3 for 5 with a double, to up his average on the VWL season to .311 in 235 at-bats.