The Tijuana Toros only played two out of three games against Saraperos de Saltillo this past weekend as the final game of the series was postponed due to the weather.
The Border City Bulls ended up splitting the series, which was a disappointing result considering Saltillo is one of the worst teams in the Mexican Baseball League. The two games completely contrasted each other as the first one on Friday night proved to be a slugfest while the second one on Saturday night was a pitching duel. Tijuana improved to an 18-14 record on the year, but moved down to third place in the LMB Zona Norte division.
Pedro Mere’s team will have a golden opportunity to get back on track as the border city side returns home this Tuesday to start a nine-game homestand at the Estadio Gasmart. But before discussing the details on that homestand, here is a rundown of the events that transpired in Saltillo this past weekend:
Game 1: Tijuana Toros 9-12 Saraperos de Saltillo
The first game of the series was an offensive showdown as Alex Sanabia and Frankie De La Cruz both had rough days on the mound. Sanabia allowed four runs on nine hits in just two and a third innings as he has now failed to throw over five innings in his last two starts. Eight pitchers followed the San Diego native, and the bullpen issues continued, with eight runs and seven walks allowed. Frankie De La Cruz was off as well with six runs allowed in four innings, but Saltillo’s bullpen was much better than Tijuana’s, with three runs allowed.
The home team was led offensively by Alex Valdez, Jonathan Aceves, and Juan Macias, who had three RBI each in the encounter. Aceves had the most impressive performance as he went 4-for-5, but Alex Valdez hit the lone home run for Saraperos. Tijuana was fueled by Jorge Cantu, who hit a three-run home run, and Dustin Martin, who went 3-for-5 with two RBI. Isaac Rodriguez, Cyle Hankerd, Juan Apodaca, and Jio Mier all had an RBI in the game as well. Corey Brown was another standout as he had three walks and two stolen bases on the day. The game was very disappointing overall, especially considering the bullpen meltdown and the fact that Saltillo is one of the weaker teams in the LMB.
Game 2: Tijuana Toros 3-1 Saraperos de Saltillo
After the events in the first game of the series, the result of the second game of the series was completely unexpected. Game 2 was a pitching duel that the Toros ended up winning with a stellar performance by Carlos Hernandez and the bullpen. Hernandez only allowed an unearned run in five and a third innings while Pedro Villarreal, Daniel Moskos, Juan Sandoval, and Jason Urquidez were untouchable out of the ‘pen. Offensively, the Border City Bulls were led by Jio Mier, who had two RBI on the day via a sacrifice fly and a double. The only other run of the clash for Tijuana came via an RBI single by Jorge Cantu.
Cantu, Juan Apodaca, Cyle Hankerd, and Roberto Lopez all finished the encounter with two hits each, while Corey Brown continued his discipline at the plate with three walks and a stolen base as well. Saltillo’s lone run of the game came off the bat of Alex Valdez, while starting pitcher Oscar Verdugo allowed three runs in four and two-thirds innings. The win was an odd one for the border city team as it seems like the Toros always get high-scoring victories. Jason Urquidez picked up his fifth save of the season, while Carlos Hernandez improved to a 5-1 record with a 2.80 ERA.
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.