Playoffs 2021: Industriales Leones tie up quarterfinal series with 10-3 win over Granma Alazanes
The Leones got what they needed in Game 4. Lisbán Correa’ sweet swing, Brian Chi’s calm, and Andy Rodríguez courage.
Correa homered for the first time this postseason, Chi pitched seven innings of one run and the Leones beat the Granma Alazanes 10-3 Monday afternoon to send the series to a winner-take-all Game 5.
Industriales avoided elimination for the first time this postseason, staying alive in its pursuit of a thirteen championship. The team has not won a Cuban title since 2009.
Correa homered in the first inning off starter Leandro Martínez to give Industriales an early 1-0 lead. It was his 29th home run of the season after leading the league with 28.
Andy Rodríguez had a perfect ninth inning with one strikeout for his first career postseason save.
The two teams will play Wednesday afternoon and we will have a repeat of Game 2, with Industriales sending to the mound righthander Maikel Taylor, who threw five innings of three runs in that game, while the Alazanes plan is to go with ace Lázaro Blanco, who threw 7 1/3 scoreless innings in Granma’ 3-0 win in Game 2 last Thursday.
The Alazanes were hoping to celebrate advancing to the semifinals for the first time since 2018 when they won the title, but Leandro Martínez took his first loss against Industriales in the last eight seasons.
Chi, using an unusual fastball – reached 92-93 mph – and his change-up, threw 92 pitches allowing one run on five hits while striking out five with two walks.
After Granma tied the game in the top of the third inning thanks to Alfredo Despaigne single that brought Raico Santos home, Chi really settled down retiring six in a row until Santos third hit of the game in the fifth. In that inning, the Alazanes had their last chance of scoring against the righthander, when they loaded the bases, only to see how Chi retired Guillermo Avilés in a fly ball to left to end the inning.
Chi said he was really focus and calm in what he considers the best game of his career. “I always knew I could get the job done, and I never changed that thought.”
He went to pitch two more scoreless innings to earn his first career postseason win.
Martínez, who struck out one and intentionally walked other in 3 1/3 innings, was hit hard in the fourth inning when Industriales scored five runs. Back-to back doubles by Wilfredo Aroche and Juan C. Torriente gave Industriales a 3-1 lead and sent Martínez back to the dugout.
Relievers Joel Mojena and Juan D. Pérez could not stop Industriales bats, allowing three runs in just 1/3 innings. The Leones put three more runs on the board in the seventh against relievers Yunier Castillo and Erluis Blanco, for a decisive 10-1 lead in this important Game 4.
Even though Industriales reliever Yandi Molina allowed two runs in the eighth, Andy Rodríguez closed it out with an encouraging performance heading into Game 5.
It was Rodríguez’s first save in four postseason appearances. He struck out one and used only 9 pitches.
National Series Quarterfinals
Jan 27, Game 1: Ind 5, Grm 4 (10 Innings)
Jan 28, Game 2: Ind 0, Grm 3
Jan 30, Game 3: Grm 4, Ind 0
Feb 1, Game 4: Grm 3, Ind 10
Feb 3, Game 5 – 1 p.m.: Probables, Maikel Taylor, Ind (0-1-5.40 in Game 2) vs. Lázaro Blanco, Grm (1-0-0.00 in Game 2)
The best-of-five series is tied 2-2