Rays Winter Ball Recap: Hector Luna HR Not Enough in Cibaenas Loss

By Robbie Knopf

There is only so many times a batter can be a hero in a game. You deliver your clutch hit, and you have to hope it holds up. When it doesn’t, all you can do is tell yourself that it was out of your control. That’s what Hector Luna is feeling after his Aguilas blew a chance to move into a tie for second place in the Dominican Winter League postseason round-robin

Dominican Winter League Postseason: Gigantes del Cibao 8, Aguilas Cibaenas 7

Hector Luna’s solo home run in the 6th inning tied the game at 5 and a suicide squeeze gave the Aguilas the lead before the inning was through. But then it all slipped away. A pair of current Rays minor leaguers teamed together for Cibao to knot the game in the 7th as a Mayo Acosta single gave the Gigantes 1st and 3rd and Ray Olmedo‘s RBI single tied the game at 6. Cibao took the lead before Cibaenas tied it, but then Cibao won in walk-off fashion in the 9th. For the Aguilas, Luna went 1 for 4 but made it count while Joey Terdoslavich went 2 for 5, and Acosta and Olmedo both went 1 for 3 in the win for the Gigantes.

Leones del Escogido 3, Tigres del Licey 2

Freddy Guzman did not much of a chance for the Rays in September of 2013, and the Leones del Escogido have not used him much either. But in this game, they decided to put him into the lineup in left field batting 9th, and the results were excellent. Guzman went 2 for 3 with a walk, a stolen base, and an RBI, providing the winning margin as it were in Escogido’s 3-2 win. For Licey, Ramon Ortiz did not have his best start, going 4 innings allowing 2 runs on 6 hits, striking out 4 while walking none. He rebounded from a tough 2nd inning with two shutout frames, but the Tigres took him out after just 4 frames in a desperate attempt to come back. Juan Cruz struck out 2 in a perfect 9th to finish the game, but by then it was too late. After making just one regular season appearance for Licey, Cruz has been incredible in the postseason, going 5.2 innings allowing no runs on 2 hits, striking out 6 while walking none. The former Ray is making a strong bid to receive an invite to spring training.

Venezuelan Winter League Postseason: Leones del Caracas 8, Aguilas del Zulia 4

Bobby Abreu saw his record streak of five consecutive games with a homer come to an end in this one, but he had another big game to lead Caracas to victory. He went 1 for 3 with a double, a walk, and 2 runs scored. Ironically, the double was his first of the postseason after the 5 homers. Abreu’s playoff numbers remain video game-esque as he has hit to a .522/.571/1.217 line in 28 plate appearances, driving in 15 runs and scoring 11 more in just 6 games. What does that even mean? Juan Apodaca did get a start in the loss for Zulia, and he went 1 for 4 with an RBI.