Anything can happen in the playoffs. And even after a trio of nightmare games in a row, everyone plays hard and no one gives up. The Criollos de Caguas representing Puerto Rico entered Monday 0-3 in the 6-day Caribbean Series round-robin, but they hung with the previously 3-0 Leones de Escogido from the Dominican Republic, and came away with a well-deserved victory.
Criollos de Caguas (Puerto Rico) 6, Leones de Escogido (Dominican Republic) 4 (10 innings)
Caguas had gotten lucky in the second inning, scoring twice on bases-loaded walks from Escogido starter Dustin Richardson. But Richardson settled down and the Leones slowly but surely took control. A 2-run homer by Jordany Valdespin tied the game in the third. A sac fly gave them the lead in the 6th. And then Alberto Rosario provided them with a key insurance run with a solo home run in the 7th inning. Then Tony Pena took the mound in the 8th for Escogido and struck out the first two batters he faced. But then Luis Mateo singled, Hanley Ramirez made a huge error to advance the runners to 2nd and 3rd (playing shortstop after Escogido had said he would primary DH in the Caribbean Series), and then Rey Navarro came through with a huge 2-run single to tie the game at 4. And two innings later, Navarro came through again, drilling a big 2-run home run of Jailen Peguero, and the Criollos had come through with a huge 6-4 win. Caguas did not have that great of a game- but they seized their opportunities with the bases-loaded walks and the Ramirez error, and combining that with Navarro’s heroics proved to be the difference. Caguas stays in contention in the Caribbean Series- they will need to win their next two games and need Escogido to win both of their games as well- while the Leones need to figure out what happened and get back on the winning track.
Yaquis de Obregon (Mexico) 2, Navegantes de Magallanes (Venezuela) 0
The Yaquis got 2 runs in the first inning, and that proved to be all they needed as dominant pitching led them over Magallanes 2-0. Chris Roberson reached on an error to begin the game, and then Alfredo Amezaga drilled a 2-run home run. That was Austin Bibens-Dirkx‘s only real mistake for Magallanes as he went 7 innings allowing just 2 runs, 1 earned, on 3 hits, striking out 5 while walking 1 and posting a perfect 12-0 groundout to flyout ratio. But Rolando Valdez was even better, going 7 innings allowing no runs on 5 hits, striking out 6 while walking 1 and managing a 9-3 groundout to flyout ratio, and although Hector Navarro struggled a bit in relief, allowing a pair of hits in 0.2 innings pitched, Dennys Reyes and Oscar Villareal combined for 1.1 perfect innings to end the game, including 3 strikeouts as Obregon nailed down its 2-0 win. The Yaquis actually got 3-hit in the game, but they still pushed a couple of runs across and their pitching was so good that it didn’t matter. Obregon and Magallanes are both 2-2 in the Caribbean Series, setting up what should be quite an exciting finish over the next two days as we find out which two teams will meet in the Caribbean Series championship game.