Game 6: Matanzas vs. Las Tunas
At Estadio José Antonio Huelga in Sancti Spíritus, Las Tunas got a chance to open the score in the top of the first inning, as it got runners on second and third base with only one out off of starting pitcher Noelvis Entenza González.
With one out, Andrés Quiala Herrera singled and Danel Castro Moñagorry hit a double down the leftfield-line.
Hererafter, Yosvani Alarcón Tardio grounded to third baseman Yadil Mujica Díaz.
On the hit, Quiala had left third base and as he was not near the base, it gave Mujica the option to go after the runner instead of throwing the ball to first base.
Quiala was unable to return in time and was tagged out by Mujica.
Now with two outs and runners on first and second base, the inning ended with another grounder to Mujica, who stepped on his base to force out Castro.
In the bottom of the first inning, Matanzas also got into scoring position off of starter Yudier Rodríguez León and even got the bases loaded, but also was held scoreless.
With one out, Yadil Mujica Díaz singled and Jefferson Delgado Castañeda walked.
With two outs, Yadir Drake Domínguez also walked, which loaded the bases.
But a grounder ended the at bat.
Both teams reached base again in the second inning.
For Las Tunas, Andrés De La Cruz Matos was hit by a pitch with one out and Héctor Castillo Blair walked with two outs, but a force play closed the at bat.
For Matanzas, Andrys Pérez Garcia singled with one out.
Next batter Eduardo Blanco Díaz hit a pop-fly into short right/centerfield.
There, centerfielder Yuniesky Larduet Domínguez wanted to make an one-handed catch, but the ball dropped to the ground.
As Pérez was unable to advance on the pop-fly, he was forced out at second base.
Blanco stranded at first base, a flyout ended this at bat.
Matanzas then opened the score in the top of the third inning.
With two outs, Bárbaro Erisbel Arruebaruena Escalante singled and scored when powerhitter Yadir Drake Domínguez followed with his third homerun in the Play-Offs.
After having played two seasons for Matanzas (2009-2010 and 2010-2011), Drake played in the Minor League in the organization of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2015 (Single-A, Double-A) and 2016 (Double-A).
Thereafter, the rightfielder played in Mexico en Venezuela.
In 2017, Drake played in 37 games for Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters in Japan.
Some years ago, the 30-year old Drake became a Mexican citizen and in 2015, he played for the Mexican National Team in the Premier12.
Matanzas added a run in the fourth.
Ariel Sánchez Sánchez led off with a double.
Andrys Pérez Garcia followed with a bunt-single near the third base-line.
Pitcher Yudier Rodríguez León fielded the ball, but then made a throwing error to first base, enabling Sánchez to score.
A double play and grounder followed.
In the top of the fifth inning, Las Tunas came back into the game by scoring two runs.
Héctor Castillo Blair (fielder's choice) was on first base with one out when Yuniesky Larduet Domínguez connected for a single.
That brought Castillo to third base and he scored on a throwing error to the plate.
On the throw, Larduet moved to third base and he then scored on a double by Andrés Quiala Herrera, who was left behind on second base.
Matanzas got close to adding a run in the bottom of the sixth.
Yadir Drake Domínguez led off with a walk and moved on a sacrifice bunt and a grounder, but stranded on third base.
Las Tunas came alongside in the seventh, but failed to take the lead, as three runners were left behind.
With one out, Yuniesky Larduet Domínguez walked and Andrés Quiala Herrera singled.
That led to runners at the corners, but also a pitching change.
Joel Suárez Hernández took over, but he got the bases loaded when he hit Danel Castro Moñagorry with his first pitch.
Hereafter, Larduet scored on a sacrifice fly by Yosvani Alarcón Tardio.
As the other runners also advanced, first base was open and so, next batter Rafael Viñales Alvarez was walked intentionally to create a force play.
The three runners stranded when Suárez closed with a strikeout.
...Erisbel Arruebaruena hit a deciding...|
...3-run homerun for Matanzas...
...On the photo, he plays for Cuba during the...
...2013 World Baseball Classic...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
In the bottom of the seventh, Matanzas re-took the lead.
Eduardo Blanco Díaz led off with a single and next batter Aníbal Medina Pérez then placed a sacrifice bunt, but also was safe himself on a fielder's choice.
Another sac-bunt followed, this time by Yadil Mujica Díaz, which led to runners on second and third base.
A flyout then accounted for the second out.
With first base open, it was no option for an intentional walk to next batter Bárbaro Erisbel Arruebaruena Escalante, as powerhitter Yadir Drake Domínguez was on deck.
Arruebaruena made good contact and drilled the ball deep into left/centerfield for a 3-run homerun, which was his fourth in the Play-Offs.
That also ended the afternoon on the mound for starter Yudier Rodríguez León, who was relieved by Yasel Luis Labrada Goulborne.
He walked Drake, but a flyout ended the at bat.
Things got heated in the top of the eighth inning.
With Héctor Castillo Blair (fielder's choice) on first base and two outs, Yuniesky Larduet Domínguez hit a grounder to short stop Bárbaro Erisbel Arruebaruena Escalante.
He threw the ball to second baseman Aníbal Medina Pérez for the force out.
However, while sliding into second base, Castillo hit the leg of Medina, who fell to the ground.
That led to a bench-clearing and some punches were thrown.
The six umpires got together and ejected Las Tunas-players Castillo, Larduet and Andrés Quiala Herrera and Matanzas-player Drake.
After order was restored, the game continued and Matanzas left a runner behind on second base in the bottom of the eighth.
In the top of the ninth, David Mena Jústiz took over the Matanzas-pitching.
He gave up a lead-off single to Yudier Rondón Pavón.
Hereafter, three flyouts ended the inning and the game.
And that ended the season for Las Tunas, while Matanzas gets a chance to defend its title in the all-deciding Final against Granma.