Playoffs 2021: Santiago de Cuba wins Game 1 thanks to four-run seventh inning
The Santiago de Cuba Avispas powered up late against the Las Tunas Leñadores to take Game 1 of the Cuban Quarter Finals series by a score of 7-4.
Andrés Quiala got the Leñadores on the board early with a first-inning double off starter Carlos Font to bring Yunieski Larduet home. The Avispas were held scoreless until an Edilse Silva single to left – with bases loaded - in the third off Las Tunas starter Yudier Rodríguez tied the score at 1-1. Seconds later, Santiago took the lead by an error of leftfielder Héctor Castillo allowing Santiago Torres to score. An inning later, Osday Silva’ single combined with a sacrifice hit and back-to-back singles of Marcos Fonseca and Santiago Torres extended the lead at 3-1.
Las Tunas responded in the fifth. With one out and still facing Font, the Leñadores loaded the bases and an infield single by Danel Castro and an error tied the score at 3-3. After loading the bases again, Font was able to survive in the inning thanks to a double-play grounder via 3-6-6-1 against Rafael Viñales.
In the sixth inning, the Leñadores took the lead 4-3 against Font with sacrifice fly of Manuel Avila that brought home Yordanis Alarcón. That score held until the bottom of the seventh, when Rudens Sánchez doubled, Edilse Silva singled tying the score at 4-4 and Adriel Labrada connected off Yudier Rodríguez for a go-ahead two-runs home run.
Santiago scored one more run in the inning for the final 7-4 score. It was a disastrous seventh inning for Las Tunas’ manager Abdel Civil, who did not take starter Yudier Rodríguez out of the game after six innings of work.
Font pitched seven innings, allowing four runs on nine hits. In ocassions he was erratic but struck out two and got the run support he needed for the win.
Avispas closer Yunior Tur closed out the favored Leñadores, getting six outs and striking out three. He was credited with the save.
Yunior Tur was solid on relief and got his first save of the 2021 postseason. (Photo: José R. Castillo)
Game 1 on Tuesday Monday had no attendance because of the COVID-19 pandemic. No fans are expected in the rest of the 2021 Cuban postseason.
National Series Quarterfinals
Jan 26, Game 1: Scu 7, Ltu 4
Jan 28, Game 2 – 1 p.m: Probables, RHP Alberto Bicet (Scu) vs. RHP Yoalkis Cruz (Ltu)
Santiago de Cuba leads the best-of-five series 1-0
(Top photo of Carlos Font: Roberto Morejón)