Caribbean Series 2017: Roberson’s homer lifts Mexicali in 4-2 win over Puerto Rico

February 2, 2017


Starting pitcher Jose Manuel Rodriguez of Mexico’s Aguilas de Mexicali delivers a pitch in a Caribbean Series game against Puerto Rico, in Culiacan, Mexico, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017. (AP Photo/Luis Gutierrez

Mexico 4, Puerto Rico 2

By Lewis Rubman

Culliacan, Sinaloa Mexico–The San Francisco Bay Area connection loomed large in tonight´s second game of the Caribbean Series.

For six innings, Culiacan’s home town favorite Daniel Rodriguez, re-enforcing the lineup of Mexico´s representative, The Mexicali Eagles, shut out Puerto Rico´s Caguas Creoles on one hit. Meanwhile his opposite number for the Creoles, Oscar Roman, gave up five hits in as many innings but still kept the Eagles off the board. He was followed by Will Oliver, who surrendered another hit while preserving the shut out.

Neither team lacked scoring opportunites in those first six innings. Walks to Ruben Gotay and David Vidal put two runners on base for Caguas in the top of the second before Rodriguez retired the side by getting Eddie Rosario to foul out to first and Ivan de Jesus, Jr. to take a called third strike.

Mexicali countered in its half of the inning with singles by C.J. Rutherford and Ranier Mlkustelier, interspersed with a fly out to center by Luis Juarez. Agustin Murrillo’s ground out moved Rutherford up to third, where he wwas stranded when Xorge Carrillo also flew out to ceenter.

In the bottom of the third, Oakland born Chris Roberson legged out a single to third but was cut down trying to advance to that base after Jason Bourgeois followed his at bat with a sharp single to left. Bourgois advanced to second on the throw, but Yuleisky Betancourt’s grounder to third closed out the frame.

Mexico wasted the opportunity provided by Murrillo’s lead off single in its half of the fifth when Carrillo bunted him over to second, bringing up the ninth place hitter, Ramon Rios, who popped out to short before Roberson grounded out to second.

The double shut out ended in the visitor’s half of the seventh inning, when David Vidal lined a home run over the left field fence off of an offering by Derick Loop, who had come in to relieve Rodriguez. giving Puerto Rico a 1-0 lead. The Eagles tied matters up in their half of the seventh. With Juan Carlos Romero pitching for the islanders and one out and runners on the corners, Jesus Castillo, pinch hitting for Ramon Rios, rapped a sharp ground ball to de Jesus at short. He flipped the ball to second for the out, but second baseman Reynaldo Navarro’s throw to first just missed getting Castillo at first for what would have been the inning ending and lead preserving double play. The run was charged to Romero’s predecesor, Fernando Cabrera, who had started the inning in relief of Oliver. Then Oakland’s Roberson homered to left to give Mexicali a 3-1 lead.

But the performance of the Bay Area’s other representative was not so felicitious. Ex-San Francisco Giant Sergio Romo started the top of the eighth pitching in relief of Loop. De Jesus slammed Romo’s second pitch over the left field fence to close Mexicali’s lead to 4-2.

A spectacular catch by Jorge Padilla of C.J. Rutherford’s drive to the left centerfield wall prevented Mexico from adding to its lead., and Jake Sanchez put the Creoles down 1-2-3 in the ninth to preserve the win.

Loop, in spite of having given up the tying run, was the winning pitcher, and Sanchez got the save. Cabrera was charged with the loss, and Romero with the blown save.

The final line score was Puerto Rico two runs on four hits and two errors, both bad throws by Vidal. The Creoles left four men on base and were zero for three with runners in scoring position. Mexico scored four runs on ten hits and no errors, leaving seven men on base and going one for ten with runners in scoring position.

Tomorrow’s match ups will see Venezuela take on Puerto Rico at 2:00 o’clock in the afternoon and Mexico face the Dominican Republic at 6:00 o’clock in evening, both times Pacific.



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