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08/24/2006 Archived Entry: "LEONES HOLD OFF SULTANES TO KNOT MEXICAN LEAGUE FINALS"
OVER 50,000 WITNESS FIRST TWO GAMES AT MONTERREY
MONTERREY The Yucatan Leones took an imposing 12-1 lead into the bottom of the sixth inning Wednesday night, but had to hold on for dear life to outlast the Monterrey Sultanes 12-8 before 23,836 fans at Estadio Monterrey. Yucatan tied the Mexican League championship series at a game apiece after dropping a 5-4 decision to the Sultanes in Tuesday nights opener.
Third baseman Jesus Castillo led the Lions with an RBI single in the fifth inning and a bases-clearing double in the top of the sixth en route to a 3-for-5 night at the plate as Yucatan chased Monterrey starter Walter Silva in the fourth inning after Silva allowed six runs and six hits. As it turned out, the Leones would need those runs as the Sultanes came roaring back from their seemingly hopeless deficit by scoring seven runs over the last four innings, including two in the seventh frame and three in the eighth.
Left fielder Edgar Quintero led Monterrey with two hits and two runs, including a solo homer in the fourth inning, while shortstop Heber Gomez stroked a sixth inning roundtripper and third sacker Mendy Lopez whacked a two-run bomb in the eighth.
Yucatan starter Salvador Arellano, who gave up the homers to Quintero and Gomez, notched his third win of the postseason. Arellano allowed no other hits in six innings of work, striking out four batsmen and walking five. Silva suffered his first playoff loss after two wins.
Monterrey won the first game Tuesday in front of 27,500 fans as both Lopez and right fielder Luis Alfonso Garcia homered for the Sultanes, who breezed through the regular season schedule. Yucatan, who are this years Cinderella team after finishing as the fourth seed in the LMB South, took an early lead in that one as well after breaking open a scoreless tie with a four-run fourth inning, all tallies coming in on DH Raul Sanchez grand slam off reliever Alfredo Garcia. Monterrey got two runs back in the bottom of the inning when Garcia went deep with Quintero on base. The Sultanes got a little closer with another run in the fifth and then took over the lead for good with two more scores in the bottom of the sixth as Lopez cranked a leadoff homer off Oscar Perfecto Rivera.
Rivera, who tossed a perfect game in last years playoffs and added a no-hitter against Veracruz during the regular season this year, was yanked after allowing Lopez blast, but did not suffer the loss. That dubious honor went to Ignacio Flores, who relieved Rivera and went on to allow shortstop Benji Gil to double and eventually score the game-winner. Gaudencio Aguirre replaced Alfredo Garcia in the seventh and tossed two scoreless innings in relief to post the win for Monterrey. Nobody had more than one hit as the two teams combined for 11 safeties.
The Leones and Sultanes will travel south to Merida before resuming their best-of-seven series at Estadio Kukulcan Friday night. The next three games are scheduled over the weekend in Yucatan before the series shifts back to Monterrey for the final two games (if needed). The series is being audiostreamed with live play-by-play in Spanish on the Mexican League website (www.lmb.com), and Minor League Baseballs site (www.minorleaguebaseball.com) is carrying live updates throughout the series.
TUESDAY, AUGUST 22, 2006 at Monterrey
Yucatan 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 0 0 - 4 5 1 LP-I Flores
Monterrey ..0 0 0 2 1 2 0 0 X - 5 6 0 WP-G Aguirre
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 23, 2006 at Monterrey
Yucatan ..0 0 2 4 1 5 0 0 0 - 12 14 0 WP-S Arellano
Monterrey ..0 0 0 1 0 1 2 3 1 - 8 9 2 LP-W Silva
Friday, Aug. 25 Monterrey at Yucatan
Saturday, Aug. 26 Monterrey at Yucatan
Sunday, Aug. 27 Monterrey at Yucatan*
Tuesday, Aug. 29 Yucatan at Monterrey*
Wednesday, Aug. 30 Yucatan at Monterrey*