Playoffs 2021: Vegueros beat down on Sancti Spíritus, take 15-4 blowout win in Game 2
The Pinar del Río Vegueros had a dominant 15-4 win over the Sancti Spíritus Gallos Friday morning in Game 2 of the best-of-five playoff round.
Pinar del Río and Sancti Spíritus have played two Quartefinals games at 5 de Septiembre stadium and the Gallos have been beaten in each. Today the Vegueros scored nine runs in the third inning to fuel a lopsided 15-4 victory by the mercy rule (*) in Game 2.
Juan C. Arencibia, who went 3-for-6 in Game 1 on Wednesday, added three more hits and supplied the big blow with a two-run double to left field in the third inning, to turn a 7-0 into a 9-0.
With six innings remaining the game was essentially over. After Sancti Spíritus scored four runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, Jorge Rojas hit a three-run homer in the sixth, to seal the score at 15-4, as the Vegueros took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series, which resumes Sunday afternoon.
Yaifredo Domínguez is scheduled to start for Pinar del Río, and José E. Santos will be tasked with keeping the Gallos season alive.
Today Lázaro Blanco went 4-for-4 with three doubles and three RBIs, Yasser J. González was 4-for-5 with two RBIs, Pedro L. Rodríguez had three RBIs, while catcher Jorge Rojas – who made a fantastic foul-fly catch in the second inning – went 2-for-4 with his first career postseason home run totaling four RBIs. Overall Pinar had 18 hits in the game.
Veteran righthander Vladimir Baños was his usual postseason self, providing five innings of four-runs – two earned - five-hit pitching, and improved to 11-12 with a 5.69 PCL in 32 career postseason starts.
Baños job was not difficult against Yamichel Pérez, a lefthander that was key in Matanzas’ championship last year. The Sancti Spíritus starting pitcher lasted 2 1/3 innings against the savage Vegueros bats, giving up six runs – five earned -, six hits and walking one.
With a chance to sweep the Gallos on Sunday and advance to the Semifinals for the first time since 2016, manager Alexander Urquiola must be happy he did not have to use his best relievers in Game 2. Frank L. Medina – who closed today’s game and threw only 14 pitches -, Liván Moinelo, and closer Raidel Martínez, they all pitched in the nail-biting postseason opener on Wednesday, but they will be rested and ready to go in Game 3.
Based on the first two games, where Pinar outscored Sancti Spíritus 24-11, a Gallos comeback seems difficult.
(*) In the Cuban League if a team leads a game by 10-plus runs at the conclusion of seven innings, the game is considered a KO victory and action is suspended. If the margin is 15 or more after five frames, then the game is also ended and goes into the record books as a “Super KO” victory.
National Series Quarterfinals
Jan 27, Game 1: Pri 9, Ssp 7 (10 Innings)
Jan 29, Game 2: Pri 15, Sancti Spíritus 4 (7 innings-Mercy Rule)
Jan 31, Game 3: Probables, Yaifredo Domínguez, Pri (9-6-3.93) vs. José E. Santos, Ssp (7-7-4.50)
Pinar del Río leads the best-of-five series 2-0
(Top photo of Juan C. Arencibia: BaseballdeCuba, Photo of Vladimir Baños: BaseballdeCuba)