• Ray Otero-Alonso

Playoffs 2021: Camero’s 3-RBIs homer, Arruebarrena’s 2HRs lead Cocodrilos to 11-4 win over Elefantes


Erisbel Arruebarrena hit two home runs, Camero homered and had three RBIs, as the Matanzas Cocodrilos cruised past the Cienfuegos Elefantes 11-4 on Sunday afternoon at José A. Huelga Stadium in Sancti Spíritus.


BOX SCORE


Arruebarrena two home runs follows Friday’s game in which he had another homer and three RBIs.


With the win, Matanzas is on the verge of advancing to the Cuban Play Offs semifinals, to continue its title defense against the winner of the Santiago de Cuba-Las Tunas’ series.


And in Game 2 the Cocodrilos got to Cienfuegos pitcher Abel Campos early in the game.


In the first inning a walk to Ariel Sánchez, a single by Jefferson Delgado, and Yadir Drake’ sacrifice fly to right field gave Matanzas a 1-0 lead.


However, Cienfuegos’ hitters wanted to change the story of the series and they were aggressive against the – surprisingly - Matanzas’ starter, Noelvis Entenza. In the second inning, a walk, an error, a fielder’s choice, and a two-run single by César Prieto gave Cienfuegos an early 3-1 lead. Cienfuegos had a chance to get Entenza out of the game in the inning, but the veteran righthander retired Pavel Quesada in fly to center field with the bases loaded to end the inning.



The lead did not last long. In the bottom of the second inning, Roberto Álvarez doubled to center and then scored on a single by Aníbal Medina to cut Cienfuegos lead 3-2.


The Cocodrilos would break the game open in the third inning when Javier Camero would hit a key three-run home run to left field to give Matanzas a 5-3 lead and chase Abel Campos from the game.


Campos completed two 2/3 innings giving up five runs on six hits and was charged with the loss.


The Cocodrilos would add to their lead against reliever Hermes González when Aníbal Medina hit a two-run homer to left field to put Matanzas up 7-3.


Matanzas would add two runs in the fifth before Erisbel Arruebarrena would hit mammoth homers to center field in the sixth and eight innings giving the Cocodrilos an 11-4 lead.



Noelvis Entenza was not sharp during his first postseason start and was lucky Cienfuegos’ hitters did not get to him. He completed five 1/3 innings of four runs – three earned - on four hits, despite his seven walks.


Lefthander Naykel Cruz, in relief of Entenza, cruised through the last three 2/3 innings, allowing two hits and one walk with three strikeouts for his first career postseason save.


The Cocodrilos have won 5 of their last 6 postseason games, dating to Game 3 of the 2020 finals against Camagüey.


With a 2-0 lead in the quarterfinals, Game 3 is Tuesday. The Elefantes need a win to avoid an 0-3 sweep and extend the series at least one more game.


Highlights



National Series Quarterfinals

Feb 12, Game 1: Cfg 6, Mtz 9

Feb 14, Game 2: Cfg 4, Mtz 11

Feb 16, Game 3 - 1 p.m.: Probables, Adrián Bueno, Cfg (6-8-6.51) vs. Renner Rivero, Mtz (10-5-3.47)


Matanzas leads the best-of-five series 2-0

(Top photo of Javier Camero: Boris Luis Cabrera/Photo of Noelvis Entenza: ACN)