Sunday, January 22, 2017

Winter Leagues: Caguas romps to Game Six victory over Santurce


Caguas, Puerto Rico

Santurce  1
Caguas   12

Los Criollos de Caguas rolled to a much needed 12-1 victory over the visiting Cangrejeros de Santurce.  

The Liga Roberto Clemente serie final is now knotted at three games apiece.  That leaves each team just two victories shy of capturing Puerto Rico's league title with three games left to play.  Santurce hosts Sunday's Game Seven, and would host Game Nine at Hiram Bithorn Stadium if necessary on Thursday.

The league champion would then move on to participate in the Caribbean Series.

For Caguas, the victory snaps a two game skid, and marks their first series win at Yldefonso Sola Morales in three tries.  Their last home game is scheduled for Game Eight on Wednesday.

A timely, if not rare, Criollos offensive outburst was clearly the story of Game Six.  After grabbing an early 2-0 lead in the second, Caguas broke through for four runs in the fifth, then capped off a rout with another six runs in the eighth inning.  They connected on 17 hits which included a double by first baseman Ruben Gotay, a triple by right fielder Jorge Padilla, and a 2-run home run by left fielder Rusney Castillo.  Third baseman David Vidal was 3 for 4 with an RBI, and shortstop Jack Lopez was 2 for 4 with a pair of RBI.  

Santurce outscored los Criollos by a 9-11 margin through the first five games of the series.  And in a complete reversal of fortune, the team went 8 for 16 with runners in scoring position.  They were batting a prohibitive .148 (11 for 74) with runners in scoring position during their previous eleven playoff games.  But on this night, all nine Criollos batters, plus a pinch hitter all hit safely.

Starter Andrew Barbosa has pitched brilliantly since joining the team as a reinforcement selection from los Indios de Mayaguez.  Saturday evening proved no different.  In facing 17 batters, he threw a mere 26 pitches with 22 going for strikes.  He walked one and fanned three through five scoreless innings of two hit baseball to earn the victory.

Pitching in relief, Jose de la Torre and Joel Pineiro limited los Cagrejeros to one late run on four hits through the final four innings.

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