The Tijuana Toros were seeking redemption and revenge after falling 6-1 to Acereros del Norte in the LMB season opener on Thursday. The Toros needed a change and went with the lucky green uniforms that were used when the team won the LMB title in 2017. The border city team achieved this and more as they came away with a 9-0 win against the team from Monclova.
The pitching matchup was set to be a solid one with Carlos Hernandez going for Tijuana and Aaron Laffey on the bump for Monclova. Laffey was signed by the border city club in 2016, but was cut before the start of the regular season. The Toros made it very clear why the experienced left-hander did not go on to pitch for them two years ago. Laffey was roughed up as he went just three innings and gave up four runs on six hits.
The first inning was quiet, but the Toros’ offense finally awoke in the second inning with three runs. Jorge Cantu started off the demolition with an RBI ground-rule double that drove in Corey Brown. Former Red Sox’ player Carlos Rivero then belted an RBI double of his own to drive in Cantu.
Finally, Josh Rodriguez scored the third run of the inning with a sharp line drive single that brought Carlos Rivero home. Pedro Mere’s men kept adding to their lead in the third inning with an RBI double by Cyle Hankerd that made it a 4-0 game. No runs came from either side in the fourth inning, but the Toros’ bats exploded in the fifth inning with five runs.
Catcher Juan Apodaca brought in four of those five runs with a grand slam and Justin Greene continued the onslaught with a solo shot. Tijuana basically secured the game after that bashing in the fifth inning with a 9-0 lead. Carlos Hernandez had a spectacular performance on the mound with only two hits surrendered in five innings of work.
Former Acereros’ pitcher Hector Galvan came in after Hernandez and pitched two scoreless innings of his own. Los Angeles native Mark Serrano and New Mexico native Gerardo Sanchez finished off the game and set the 9-0 result in stone.
The offense was the polar opposite of what it was on Thursday, and it was reassuring to see, especially up against a potent team like Acereros and an experienced starting pitcher in Aaron Laffey. Not Laffey nor the five pitchers that came after him could contain the raging bulls Friday.
Juan Apodaca was voted as the MVP of the game with his grand slam, but starting pitcher Carlos Hernandez was also a worthy candidate with his outing. The over eight thousand fans that were present at the Estadio Gasmart were left satisfied after a disappointing season opener on Thursday night.