We’ll only discuss two games today, but both were the type of classics we expect to see in the playoffs.
Dominican Winter League Postseason: Leones de Escogido 6, Aguilas Cibaenas 3
In the playoffs, it always seems to be that the superstars are not the players that come through when it matters most. Instead, it’s the role players who somehow rise up to the occasion. In this case, that role player was ex-Rays infielder Willy Aybar. In the 6th inning, with the Leones up a run and the bases loaded with 2 outs, Aybar delivered a bases-clearing 3-run double to ice the game as Escogido took a 5-1 lead. The Aguilas’ deficit reached 6-1 before they finally rallied in the 9th against ex-Rays minor leaguer Jhonny Nunez. Manny Ramirez, who had homered in the second inning, laced an RBI single and Juan Carlos Perez notched an RBI double, but it was too little, too late as the Leones won 6-3. Aybar’s clutch double was his only hit in 4 at-bats while Manny Ramirez went 2 for 3 with a homer, a walk, 2 RBI, and a run scored.
Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League (Puerto Rico): Cangrejeros de Santurce 11, Gigantes de Carolina 7 (14 innings)
The final score belies just how great of a game this was. Santurce took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on a home run by ex-Rays minor leaguer Jose Ruiz. However, the tide quickly shifted in the game. The Gigantes struck for 3 runs in the 2nd, including an Osvaldo Martinez 2-run single, and then an Anthony Garcia 3-run homer in the 3rd made it a 6-2 game. The game would remain that way until the 6th inning, when the Carolina pitching completely collapsed, allowing 4 runs on 2 hits, 5 walks, and a sac fly. Then a Yadiel Rivera gave Santurce a 7-6 lead as the Gigantes had to be completely demoralized. But in the bottom of the 9th, Martinez doubled and then Jobduan Morales delivered a game-tying RBI single to keep the game going. Both bullpens in this game were incredible, with the one blemish for Santurce being Carolina’s 9th inning rally and Carolina matching them by not allowing a run after the 7th… until the 14th, when Gerardo Valentin delivered a go-ahead RBI single off of Raul Rivera, who had previously tossed 3 shutout innings, and then 9th hitter Orlando Mercado topped it off with a 3-run double to ice it as Santurce won 11-7. Among the ex-Rays, Ruiz went 2 for 6 with a homer, a walk, 2 RBI, and 2 runs scored for the Cangrejeros while Leslie Anderson, in his first game for Carolina, went 2 for 7 with a run scored, but Jesus Feliciano and Felipe Lopez had tough days, combining to go just 1 for 12 with a walk.