Caribbean Series 2017: Valle goes deep for slam as Mexicali takes 5-1 win over Venezuela

February 4, 2017

MLB photo: Mexicali’s Sebastian Valle who hit a grand slam against Venezuela to break a 1-1 tie in game six of the Caribbean Series in Culiacan, Sinaloa Mexico

By Lewis Rubman

Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico–The final score was five to one, but the game was as close as the names of the two teams, Venezuela’s Las Aguilas del Zulia, and Mexico’s Los Aguilas de Mexicali. Both teams in tonight’s sixth game of the 2017 Caribbean Series are called The Eagles.

Zulia scored first, notching a run against right handed starter Barry Enright in the top of the third on singles by Jonathan and Josh Castillo, interspersed by a runner advancing ground out by Ali Castillo and a strikeout of Phillies’ shortstop Freddy Galvis. Mexicali threatened in their half of the inning when southpaw Carlos Hernandez, who started for Zulia, allowed a double to left centerfield to Sebastian Valle, who advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Isaac Rodriguez. Chris Roberson hit a fly to deep right field, and the slow moving Valle headed towards home. He wisely stopped and turned back to third when he saw Rene Rios’s fast and accurate throw reach home welll before the Mexicali catcher would have been able to.

Manuel Barreda took over for Enright to open the sixth and held the Venezuelans scoreless through the eighth.

Mexico tied the game in the bottom of the sixth when Jason Bourgeois singled to left and the ball bounced off Jose Pirela’s glove for an error that allowed Bourgois to reach second. Two batters later, C.J. Retherford hit a single to left, which bounced off Jose Pirela’s glove for an error that allowed Retherford to advance to second base. Venezuela’s manager, Lipso Nava, ordered the left handed Hernandez to walk right handed batting Luis Juarez before removing his start to have righty Romulo Sanchez face right handed batter Ronnier Mustelier, who managed to leg out a grounder to short, loading the bases. Then Sanchez struck out Agustin Murrllo to end the threat.

The game remained tied until Mexicali came to bat in the ninth and Pedro Rodriguez took the mound for Zulia. Juarez greeted him with a single to right. Mustelier dropped down a sacrifice bunt in an attempt to move Juarez to second. Rodriguez fielded the ball and threw to second, allowing Mustelier to reach first. Rodriguez’s throw was wide of the mark, so not only were both of Mexico’s players safe, but Juarez was safe on third. A walk to Jessie Castillo loaded the bases, bringing Sebastian Valle to the plate. You remember Sebastian Valle; he’s the man whose lack of speed probably cost Mexicali a run in the third inning. This time he hit a grand slam home run. I think he hit it to left, but it was hard to tell in all the confusion. There IS cheering in the press box in Mexico.

Oliver Perez of the Washington Nationals pitched the top of the ninth for his native Mexico and got the win. Pedro Rodriguez took the loss.




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