Playoffs 2021: Vegueros even semifinals at two games apiece with Game 4 win over Alazanes
Updated: Apr 14, 2021
There were any number of variables that went into the Vegueros’ 5-3 win over Granma on Wednesday in Game 4 of the National Series Cuban Semifinals. But the most significant might have been Yosvany Torres giving the team five important innings, and Yoandy Cruz four scoreless innings of relief.
Yes, we can also mention Juan C. Arencibia two-run single in the bottom of the third to tie the game at 2, but without its most important tool: pitching, there was minimum chance of victory for a team that couldn’t afford to lose.
In his first outing of the 2021 season, Yosvany Torres went five innings – couldn’t get an out in the sixth - and, even when he allowed 11 hits, Granma scored only three runs against him giving Pinar a chance to comeback in the game.
Guillermo García two-run homer in the top of the second inning worried Pinar’s fans, but the team responded an inning later when, with two runners in scoring position, Arencibia singled to center field off Granma starter Joel Mojena driving home both. New game.
The Alazanes scored their third and final run in the top of the sixth off of a Roel Santos single with bases loaded. Santos RBI single was against reliever Yoandy Cruz, this would be the only hit that would allow the right-hander in the game. Cruz ended the threat striking out Osvaldo Abreu and retiring Raico Santos in a grounder to second.
Granma starter Joel Mojena was effective during 5 1/3 innings, allowing only four hits and striking out two. In the sixth with one out, the right-hander got in trouble hitting William Saavedra and allowing Pedro L. Rodríguez double to right filed that moved Saavedra to third base. Mojena then was switched out for Juan D. Pérez who intentionally walked Yaser J. González to load the bases. It was this moment that changed the course of Game 4.
Facing Luis P. Acosta, reliever Pérez tried to pick up the runner on first base and ended up making a wild throw to the base. The ball went near the right field and the runners on third and second ended up scoring to give Pinar a surprising 4-3 lead. Few moments later Acosta’ grounder to second gave Pinar its final run of the game.
Granma never recovered; against Cruz they couldn’t do anything in the rest of the game. Even when Cruz put two runners on base in the last three innings, he faced the minimum and didn’t allow a single during those late innings. Overall, the veteran righty tossed 4 innings of one hit, struck out three and walked one for his first win of the postseason.
Granma and Pinar del Río will face off tomorrow at 1 pm (ET) in Game 5 of the series. Erlis Casanova will be on the mound for Pinar del Río, and he will have to have a better showing than he did in Game 1 to give the Vegueros a chance to take a 3-2 lead in the series. The Alazanes will have ace Lázaro Blanco, who picked up the win in Game 1 with an exceptional eight innings performance.
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 - 1 p.m.: Probables, Lázaro Blanco, Grm vs. Erlis Casanova, Pri
The best-of-seven series is tied 2-2
(Top photo of Yoandy Cruz: GameTime Sport)