Caribbean Series 2017: Mexicali starter Banos throws gem in 1-0 shutout over Cuba

February 7, 2017

MLB

By Lewis Rubman

Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico–Last night, Cuba’s Granma Sorrel Horses shut own Mexico’s Mexicali Eagles, 4-0. It was a closer game than the score indicated, since alll of Cuba’s runs were scored in the time it took for six batters to take their turns at the plate. Tonight, it was Mexico’s turn to shut out the Cubans by a smaller margin, and with much better pitching, which is saying something because Vladimir Banos, Granma’s starter on Sunday, threw eight and a half innings of six hit ball, which is no small accomplishment.

Tonight, three Mexican pitchers teamed up to throw a two hit shutout, with both of those hits occuring in the first inning. Not a single Cuban batter reached base between Alexander Ayala’s walk with one out in the first inning and Victor Mesa’s one out walk in the ninth. What adds to this remarkable feat is that both of the Mexicali pitchers for the first eight innings were left handers and every single Cuban batter they faced was right handed. So much for conventional wisdom.

Mexico scored the game’s only run in the bottom of the fifth. Lazaro Blanco issued a four pitch walk to Ronnier Mustelier. Sebastiian Valle, whose ninth inning grand slam home run on Friday night broke up a 1-1 tie between Mexico and Venezuela, laid down a bunt single that advanced Mustelier, who continued on to third when Yunior Paumier threw the ball away. Then Agustin Murillo singled to left to bring in Mustelier with the winning tally.

Winning pitcher Miguel Pena went five innings, giving up both of Cuba’s hits before he had faced more lthan three opponents. He walked one and struck out four and was followed to the mound by Hector Daniel Rodriguez, who pitched all of the sixth, seveenth, and eight innings, striking out five and not allowing a baserunner. He received credit for the hold. The save went to Jake Sanchez, this season’s Mexican Pacific League Closer of the Year, who pitched for the A’s Texas League farm club in Midland last season.

Lazaro Blanco took the tough loss for Granma, giving up one run, four hits, and three walks over seven innings. He struck out five. Lilvan Moinelo allowed a hit and logged a strikeout in the eighth.

At 7:00 o’clock tomorrow night (6:00 o’clock Pacilfic Time), Mexicali and Caguas will square off for the Caribbean Series championship.

 

 

 

 

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