Rays Winter Ball Recap: Mayo Acosta’s Heroics Lead Este Over Cibao

By Robbie Knopf

Getting a clutch hit is always nice. But getting multiple hits of such nature in one game means something signficantly more. One hit could be luck. Multiple hits and whether it is justified or not, people will start hitting about you as a “clutch player.” At least in somebody’s eyes Mayo Acosta is a clutch player after his huge game led the Toros to victory over the Gigantes.

Dominican Winter League: Toros del Este 5, Gigantes del Cibao 4

A host of current and former Rays featured prominently in this one right from the start, and the result was a classic. Bruedlin Suero started for Este and was not very good, going 3.1 innings allowing 3 runs on 4 hits to put his team down right from the start. But Zack Segovia followed Suero with 1.2 innings of shutout relief, and Mayo Acosta pulled the Toros within 3-2 on a solo homer, his 3rd, off Zach Kroenke. New York Mets prospect Jeurys Familia followed Kroenke with a dominant relief effort, striking out 5 in 2 innings of work as he allowed just 1 hit, but shutout innings by Alberto Cabrera and former Rays minor leaguer Winston Cabrera kept Este within a run. Things got sketchy for both Joel Peralta (making his second DWL appearance) for Cibao and Jose Valdez of the Houston Astros in the 8th, but both worked around a couple baserunners to take the game into the 9th. But Ramon Ramirez was not able to follow up Peralta’s effort for Cibao as the game came down to the wire. With two outs and nobody on, Acosta singled, and a Willis Otanez double tied the game before Esteban German‘s RBI single gave Este the lead. But in the 9th, Philadelphia Phillies prospect Maikel Franco pinch-hit for Omir Santos and hit a game-tying home run off Jose Valverde to send the game into extra innings. Finally in the 11th, Jason Rogers drilled a 2-out go-ahead single as the Toros won 5-4. Acosta had a huge game, going 3 for 4 with a homer, 2 RBI, and a run scored (he was pinch-ran for in the 9th) to help lead Este to a dramatic win.