Playoffs 2021: Alazanes pound Vegueros 12-4 in Game 5, take 3-2 lead in Cuban Semifinals
Updated: Apr 9, 2021
The Alazanes came away with an easy 12-4 win in Game 5 of the Cuban Semifinals, taking a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series. They are now one win away from their first Cuban Finals since 2018, when they beat Las Tunas 4-3 to win a second National Series title.
In Game 1 of the series Lázaro Blanco was efficient, helping the Alazanes to win the always important first game of the series. In that game, Blanco threw eight innings allowing only two runs in seven hits while struck out six.
This time around, Blanco worked seven scoreless innings, allowing only four hits and a walk. He struck out three. In four starts this 2021 postseason, Blanco has a 0.93 ERA, 0.72 WHIP and 21 strikeouts against six walks in 29 1/3 innings with a 4-0 record.
Keep in mind, his first start gave the Alazanes a 1-0 lead while this one propelled them to a 3-2 lead and within one game of the Finals. Always clutch.
And while Blanco was doing his thing, Pinar starter Erlis Casanova, looked like more of the same this postseason. After retiring the first two innings, including an 1-2-3 second inning, Granma got to him in the third. With one out Casanova walked Roel Santos and back-to back singles by Osvaldo Abreu and Raico Santos put the Alazanes on the board.
An inning later it will be enough for the veteran right-hander…and also for Pinar in Game 5. Guille García singled to left to start the inning, Yulián Milán followed with single to right field while Alexquemer Sánchez’ grounder to short moved both runners to scoring position. Roel Santos was intentionally walked and Osvaldo Abreu singled to left field for a 2-0 lead. Then Raico Santos would collect two more RBIs with single to center knocking Casanova out of the game.
The final line this time for Casanova: 3 1/3, 8 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 1 K
Right-hander Reilandy González replaced Casanova and couldn’t even get an out. González walked Carlos Benítez and hit catcher Iván Prieto for a 5-0 lead. Moments later, González was out of the game and the new pitcher, righty Isbel Hernández, would allow Miguel González fielder’s choice that sent Santos home and left the bases loaded. Guille García followed with a two-run double to right-field giving the Alazanes an 8-0 lead, while Milán was retired to end the inning.
Granma scored two more runs in the eight and the ninth innings, while after Blanco was done for the day Pinar would score four runs in the bottom of the eight against Kelbis Rodríguez. Carlos Santana replaced Rodríguez and tossed 1 2/3 scoreless innings.
Friday is a day off from game play, and Game 6 then takes place Saturday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. (ET). The pitching matchup is a Game 2 rematch with Vladimir Baños (9-6, 3.93 regular season; 1-0, 4.50 postseason) vs. Leandro Martínez (6-7, 3.98; 0-1, 4.17).
National Series Semifinals
Feb 20, Game 1: Pri 2, Grm 9
Feb 21, Game 2: Pri 13, Grm 3 (Mercy Rule - 8 innings)
Feb 23, Game 3: Grm 12, Pri 1 (Mercy Rule - 7 innings)
Feb 24, Game 4: Grm 3, Pri 5
Feb 25, Game 5: Grm 12, Pri 4
Feb 27, Game 6 - 1 p.m.: Probables, Vladimir Baños (1-0-4.50), Pri vs. Leandro Martínez (0-1-4.17), Grm
Granma leads the best-of-seven series 3-2
(Top photo of Lázaro Blanco: Boris Luis Cabrera)