(Story by Marco Stoovelaar)
Águilas cuts Gigantes-lead in half in Dominican Final
SAN FRANCISCO DE MACORÍS (Dominican Repulic) -
Águilas Cibaeñas has won its first game of the best-of-seven Championship Final of the Liga de Béisbol de Profesional de la República Dominicana (LIDOM) against Gigantes del Cibao.
On Wednesday-evening (January 13), Águilas won 6-3 to cut the lead of Gigantes in half.
Gigantes had won the first two games with scores of respectively 5-1 and 6-2.
In Estadio Julián Javier, the visiting Águilas led 4-0 halfway the seventh inning in Game 3.
Gigantes then rallied for three runs, but Águilas decided the game by scoring two more runs in the eighth at bat.
Águilas opened the score in the top of the second inning off of starter Chris Ellis.
Robel García led off with a walk, advanced to third base on a single by Francisco Peña and scored when next batter Edmundo Sosa grounded into a double play.
Ellis retired the side in the next two innings, but the righthanded American gave up another run in the fifth.
This time, Francisco Peña led off with a walk and scored on a 2-out double by Juan Lagares.
Hereafter, Jesús Reyes was inserted as new pitcher.
Águilas doubled its lead again in the seventh by scoring two more runs.
Yerry De Los Santos began the inning as fourth pitcher for Gigantes and gave up a lead-off double to Francisco Peña.
He advanced, then scored when a sacrifice bunt by Edmundo Sosa ended in a throwing error by De Los Santos.
Hereafter, Sosa was awarded third base on a balk, then scored when another balk was scored moments later.
De Los Santos then struckout the next batter, but then gave up a double to Juan Lagares and was relieved by American Derrick Loop.
He retired the next two batters, but Águilas now led 4-0.
Águilas-starter Andy Otero didn't encounter much problems.
Except for the second inning when Gigantes got runners on first and second base with one out.
A flyout then ended in an inning-ending double play.
The Panamanian lefthander retired the side in the third, fourth and fifth inning.
With one out in the sixth, Otero gave up two singles and was relieved by Michael Tonkin.
He got two flyouts, but then ran into problems in the bottom of the seventh when Gigantes rallied for three runs.
Tonkin gave up back-to-back homeruns to Juan Francisco and Peter O'Brien.
After striking out the next batter, the righthanded American gave up a single to Carlos Paulino and was relieved by Marcos Diplan.
He got the bases loaded when Abiatal Avelino and José Sirí both walked.
Next batter Ronald Guzmán grounded out, but that enabled Paulino to score and narrow the deficit to 4-3.
With runners on second and third base, another pitching change followed.
Neftali Feliz took over and got an inning-ending grounder.
Águilas immediately took some more distance in the top of the eighth off of new pitcher Ryan Kussmaul.
With one out, the American gave up a single to Luis Juarez, then a 2-out homerun to Francisco Peña, which made it a 6-3 score.
Peña was 3-for-3 in the game with a double and a homerun.
The catcher also scored three runs and batted in two.
Game 4 will be played on Friday.