The Tijuana Toros are back at the Estadio Gasmart and started off their six-game homestand in the best way imaginable against Olmecas de Tabasco.
The first game of the three-game set against Los Cabezones was set to be a great pitching duel between Alex Sanabia and Francisco Rodriguez, but was anything but that. The Border City Bulls came away with a dominant 15-2 win to start off the series with hits from across the lineup and a solid pitching performance by Alex Sanabia.
The San Diego native allowed just two runs on five hits through five and a third innings for his second quality start of the season. The bullpen was also effective and managed to hold the massive lead the offense offered on the day.
The offense was kickstarted by Cyle Hankerd in the bottom of the first inning in uninspiring fashion with a sacrifice double play. There was no action in the second inning by the Toros’ batters, but four more runs came in the bottom of the third. Dustin Martin started the onslaught with a groundout, but then Cyle Hankerd produced two more runs on the day with an RBI double. Juan Apodaca kept his hot bat with an RBI double of his own to make it a 5-0 score against Tabasco after three innings.
Houston Jimenez’s side did pick up two runs in the top of the sixth, but Pedro Mere’s men added four more in the bottom of the inning. Maxwell Leon hit his first home run of the year to drive in two and Dustin Martin brought in two more with a single. The game was all but over by the end of the sixth inning as Tijuana had a 9-2 lead and went on to make the scoreline even more ludicrous than it already was.
Two more runs came in the seventh, and four more in the eighth, to seal the 15-2 score at the Estadio Gasmart. Maxwell Leon incredibly managed to crush a three-run home run for his second dinger of the encounter. The Mexico City native had been swinging a hot bat, with a batting average over .500, but his power had yet to be seen this season until Tuesday night.
Leon was the standout from the night and was named the MVP of the game for obvious reasons. The 33-year-old utility player went 2-for-3 in the game with two home runs, two walks, and five RBI. Justin Greene and Juan Apodaca were the only players on the day that managed to get three hits on the night. Apodaca kept up his hot streak as he went 3-for-5 with two RBI, now with at least two RBI in his last three games. Dustin Martin and Cyle Hankerd were also two of the main run producers of the night with three RBI each.
Also worth noting is that Tim Torres and Jio Mier made their debuts for the border city team in this clash as pinch hitters off the bench. Both players hit doubles in their first at-bats with Tijuana and Mier even managed to get an RBI out of it. Isaac Rodriguez also went 2-for-3 in the encounter and extended his hitting streak to 10 games.
The three-game set will continue this Wednesday at the Estadio Gasmart as Carlos Hernandez will face Angel Araiza. The Border City Bulls have improved to an 8-8 record and will be surely seeking the series sweep against Tabasco after the performance that was put in on Tuesday night.
Francisco, 26, Chula Vista/Tijuana. I have been a Padres fan all my life, did most of the series previews and recaps in the Padres’ 2016 season for EVT. Now I focus more on the local soccer scene. Tijuana Xolos, San Diego Loyal, San Diego Wave.