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Updated: March 29, 2021
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Copyright © 1997-2021
Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar
Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2021 by Marco Stoovelaar

(Story by Marco Stoovelaar)

Granma also wins second game against Matanzas in Cuban Final

SANCTI SPÍRITUS (Cuba) - Alazanes de Granma won 6-5 against Cocodrilos de Matanzas on Monday-afternoon (March 29) in the second game of the best-of-seven Championship Final of the 60th edition of the Serie Nacional de Béisbol. Game 3 will be played on Wednesday.

In the opener on Sunday, Granma nipped the reigning champion 3-2. The second match-up was another close game. Granma initially took an early 3-0 lead, but trailed 5-3 halfway the sixth inning. Granma came back, tied the score and then re-took the lead in the eighth.

The Cuban Final is played in its entirety at Estadio José Antonio Huelga in Sancti Spíritus.

(March 29)

Related Articles:
Granma nips Matanzas in opener Cuban Final. (March 28)
Cuban Final postponed; Cuba participates in tournament on Curaçao in April. (March 18)
Semi-Final Matanzas vs. Las Tunas
Matanzas wins again to advance to Cuban Final. (March 14)
Matanzas takes lead in Cuban Semi-Final. (March 12)
Matanzas wins in 11 innings to even Cuban Semi-Final. (March 11)
Matanzas avoids sweep with 1-0 win in Cuban Semi-Final. (March 10)
Las Tunas also wins second game of Cuban Semi-Final. (March 8)
Las Tunas wins opener second Cuban Semi-Final. (March 7)
Quarter Final Las Tunas vs. Santiago de Cuba
Las Tunas wins again to advance to Cuban Semi-Final. (March 4)
Las Tunas takes lead with another shutout in Cuban Quarter Final. (March 2)
Las Tunas records shutout-win, as last Cuban Quarter Final resumes. (February 28)
Semi-Final Granma vs. Pinar del Río
Granma wins again to advance to Cuban Championship Final. (February 27)
Granma takes third lead in Cuban Semi-Final with big win. (February 25)
Pinar del Río comes alongside again in Cuban Semi-Final. (February 24)
Granma re-takes lead in Cuban Semi-Final. (February 23)
Pinar del Río wins big in second game Cuban Semi-Final. (February 21)
Cuba: 1st Semi-Final started; Last Quarter Final resumes in week. (February 20)
Quarter Final Matanzas vs. Cienfuegos
Matanzas sweeps Cienfuegos to reach Cuban Semi-Finals. (February 17)
Quarter Finals Cuba temporarily interrupted; 2 teams to Semi-Final. (February 12)

Game 2: Granma vs. Matanzas

Granma took an early lead in the second game. The team opened the score in the first at bat, then added two more runs in the second off of starter Noelvis Entenza González.

In the first inning, Roel Santos Martínez led off with a walk. With one out, he advanced to second base when a pop-fly by Raico Santos Almeida was caught by short stop Bárbaro Erisbel Arruebaruena Escalante near the foul-line in leftfield. After Arruebaruena had caught the ball running backwards, it dropped. However, that happened after he had control of the ball when he had caught it. And so, there were two outs. Carlos Benítez Pérez then also walked. Moments later, Santos moved to third base on a wild pitch, then scored on a single by Guillermo José Avilés Difurnó. Benítez stranded on third base.

Granma then scored twice in the second at bat off of righthander Entenza. This time, Guillermo García García led off with a walk. Hereafter, Yulián Rafael Milán Santos hit a hard grounder, which jumped up and bounced over short stop Arruebaruena. When fielded, this could have been either a force play or double play. Although it appeared to be a bad hop, an error was credited to the short stop by the three Official Scorers. That led to two baserunners, who then advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Alexquemer Sánchez Sánchez. Both scored when Roel Santos Martínez followed with a ground-rule double. After having given up the two runs, with his next (inside) pitch, Entenza hit Osvaldo Abreu Sánchez on his back. That led to a visit from his Pitching Coach Jesús Salgado Sánchez. Moments later, Santos stole third base, but the runners stranded on first and third base.

Granma got into scoring position again in the bottom of the third inning. With one out, Iván Prieto González was hit by a pitch, then advanced to third base on a single by Guillermo García García. But they were left behind, as a line drive by next batter Yulián Rafael Milán Santos was caught in rightfield and a strikeout ended the at bat.

In the meantime, Granma-starter Leandro Martínez Figueredo dominated. In the first four innings, the lefthander allowed only one batter to reach base. That was Yadir Drake Domínguez, who walked with one out in the second inning, but he was eliminated in a double play. In the opening game, powerhitter Drake was suspended for his part in the bench-clearing brawl in Game 6 of the Semi-Final.

Matanzas then struck in the top of the fifth inning and ended both the No-Hitter and ShutOut of Martínez. Not only that, the team came alongside! The inning began with a nice diving catch by rightfielder Alexquemer Sánchez Sánchez on a line drive by Bárbaro Erisbel Arruebaruena Escalante, which at that moment saved the No-Hitter. But with one out, Yadir Drake Domínguez walked and Yariel Duque Salgado singled. They scored when Ariel Sánchez Sánchez followed with a homerun. Two grounders ended the at bat, but the score was now 3-3.

Matanzas scored again in the sixth to turn the game around in its favor. This time, the reigning champion scored twice off of reliever Juan Danilo Pérez Meriño, who had entered the game as successor of Martínez. With one out, he got the bases loaded when Yadil Mujica Díaz and Javier Camero Rodríguez both singled and Bárbaro Erisbel Arruebaruena Escalante walked. That led to another pitching change. Erluis Blanco Reyes took over, but he was greeted with a 2-run single from Yadir Drake Domínguez. And that gave Matanzas a 5-3 lead, but that was shortlived.

Granma got a baserunner in the fourth and fifth inning, but both times they were eliminated in a double play. But the team then came alongside in the bottom of the sixth. Guillermo García García led off with a single and Yulián Rafael Milán Santos walked. The bases then got loaded when a sacrifice bunt by Alexquemer Sánchez Sánchez ended in a fielding error by the catcher. With three runners on base and no outs, Matanzas also went to the bullpen and inserted Naykel Yoel Cruz Saldívar. He got a flyout, then struckout the next batter, but then gave up a 2-run single to Raico Santos Almeida, which made it a 5-5 score. On the throw to the plate, Sánchez and Santos advanced to third and second base, respectively. That ended the stay on the mound for Cruz, who was relieved by Joel Suárez Hernández. The inning ended with a grounder, but it was a new game again.

Both teams got into scoring position in the seventh inning, but were unable to score.

For Matanzas, Ariel Sánchez Sánchez led off the seventh with a single and moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Andrys Pérez Garcia. But a groundout and flyout followed.

For Granma, Guillermo García García and Yulián Rafael Milán Santos singled with two outs. They were left behind when a strikeout ended the inning.

In the top of the eighth, Matanzas left a runner behind on first base, then Granma re-took the lead in its eighth at bat. Roel Santos Martínez led off with a walk, but was eliminated in a double play when a bunt-attempt by Osvaldo Abreu Sánchez was caught by reliever Suárez. But with two outs, Raico Santos Almeida connected well on a pitch from the relief-ace and drove the ball into deep rightfield for a homerun to put Granma ahead, 6-5. Carlos Benítez Pérez followed with a double, then Guillermo José Avilés Difurnó was walked intentionally, but they were left behind.

A suspenseful top of the ninth inning followed, as the first two batters of Matanzas reached base off of new pitcher Carlos Santana Santiesteban. Yariel Duque Salgado led off with a single, then his pinch-runner Yoisnel Camejo Delgado moved to third base on a following single down the leftfield-line by Ariel Sánchez Sánchez. Hereafter, a nice and deciding double play was made on a hard, one-hop bouncer by pinch-hitter Juan Miguel Vázquez Trujillo, which kept Camejo at third base. With the tying run on third base, the game was briefly interrupted after the first delivery to next batter Eduardo Blanco Díaz. Apparently short stop Yulián Rafael Milán Santos had injured his back while completing the double play and needed some treatment. When that was done, Santana closed the game by striking out Blanco.

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