Playoffs 2021: Yera, Arruebarrena lead defending champion Matanzas to win 9-6 over Cienfuegos in G1
The Matanzas Cocodrilos opened up their Play Off Quarterfinals with a 9-6 win over the Cienfuegos Elefantes, Friday, at an empty José A. Huelga Stadium in Sancti Spíritus.
After a 16-day delay, Matanzas’s ace, Yoanni Yera, made his debut on the mound this postseason, and pitched seven innings to complete Matanzas’ first win of the best-of-five quarterfinals series against Cienfuegos.
Yera struck out eight and walked one allowing six runs - two earned - to get the win. The only blemish being three defensive errors around second base – shortstop Erisbel Arruebarrena (2) and second baseman Aníbal Medina -, that allowed Cienfuegos to score four runs and take a 5-0 lead until the fourth inning.
Juan M. Vázquez singled with two on in the bottom of the fourth to cut the lead at 5-2, while Yusniel Ibáñez’ solo shot off Yera in the top half of the fifth gave Cienfuegos a 6-2 lead.
In the bottom of the fifth Matanzas put a comeback. Back-to-back doubles of Ariel Sánchez and Jefferson Delgado made it 6-3 and sent Cienfuegos’ starter Yasmany Insúa back to the dogout, then Arruebarrena followed with a key three-run homer to left field off reliever Carlos Ramírez to tie the score at 6-6.
An inning later a costly error by first baseman Daniel Pérez gave Matanzas a 7-6 lead, while the defending champion scored two more runs in the rest of the game for the final 9-6 score.
When Yera departed, veteran righthander Noelvis Entenza took the mound pitching two scoreless innings preserving the Cocodrilos’ 9-6 win over the Elefantes. Entenza, who pitched for Aragüa in the Venezuelan Winter League this year, allowed one hit, walked one and had a strikeout in his first appearance this postseason. He was credited with the save.
Despite only two hits allowed, reliever Ramírez took the loss after giving up five runs – three earned – and five walks.
For Matanzas, Arruebarrena and Vázquez drove in three runs while Yariel Duque went 3-for-3 with two runs.
Luis Vicente Mateo had an impressive start of postseason for Cienfuegos, going 3-for-5 with two doubles and two RBIs. Mateo also looked brilliant defensively.
Cienfuegos’ starter Yasmany Insúa was dominant over four innings, and many considered was prematurely pull out of the game in the bottom of the fifth, with one out, and after allowing back-to-back doubles.
The Elefantes and Cocodrilos will play Game 2 on Sunday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. Abel Campos should take the mound for Cienfuegos while Renner Rivero should do it for Matanzas.
National Series Quarterfinals
Feb 12, Game 1: Cfg 6, Mtz 9
Feb 14, Game 2 - 1 p.m.: Probables, Abel Campos, Cfg (6-4-4.80) vs. Renner Rivero, Mtz (10-5-3.47)
Matanzas leads the best-of-five series 1-0
(Top photo of Yoanni Yera: Oscar Alfonso)