The Tijuana Toros continued their extensive nine-game homestand this weekend with a three-game series against Saraperos de Saltillo.
The series was not meant to be complicated by any means, and did not turn out to be, as the Border City Bulls won two out of three games against the team from Coahuila. Los Astados improved to a 22-16 record after the series and are now three and a half games back of first-place Sultanes de Monterrey in the LMB Zona Norte division. With the series win, the Toros are now undefeated in their last three games and will look to keep that going against Monterrey to finish off the nine-game homestand. Before diving into that upcoming series, first here is a rundown of how the Toros fared this weekend.
Game 1: Saraperos de Saltillo 3-14 Tijuana Toros
The Border City Bulls started off the series out of the gates with a dominant 14-3 win against Saltillo. Alex Sanabia came back to form after two rough starts in this encounter as the San Diego native allowed just two runs through five innings. Out of the bullpen, Jesus Pirela, Fernando Gallegos, and Paul Paez all had scoreless outings, while Sergio Alvarado allowed a run in his inning of labor.
The offense was really built on a solid, collective effort, but Dustin Martin and Cyle Hankerd were the standouts in the game, Martin with three RBI and Hankerd with four RBI. Roberto Lopez, Corey Brown, Juan Apodaca, Jio Mier, and Maxwell Leon all provided an RBI each in the clash as well. The win was a solid one, where all components were on point for the Toros to obtain the victory.
Game 2: Saraperos de Saltillo 1-7 Tijuana Toros
The second game of the series brought more of the same that was seen in the first game as Tijuana had another dominant win. Saltillo’s pitching struggled again as Len Picota used seven different hurlers in the encounter. Carlos Hernandez had been having a tremendous season leading up to this game and stayed consistent with that as he allowed one unearned run in six innings to get his sixth win of the season. Daniel Moskos, Juan Sandoval, and Aaron Kurcz were all flawless out of the ‘pen and finished off the game to seal the win. Jorge Cantu led the offense with a two-run home run and three total RBI in the encounter. Roberto Lopez, Dustin Martin, Cyle Hankerd, and Corey Brown drove in the other runs in the game and there were surprisingly no stolen bases for the Bulls, like in the first game.
Game 3: Saraperos de Saltillo 2-0 Tijuana Toros
The trend of the Toros’ dominance came to a halt in the final game of the series as Saltillo took a slim 2-0 win in extra innings. The encounter was the best pitching matchup of the Toros’ season, and maybe of the entire LMB in 2018. Kyle Lobstein was coming off a rough start, where he allowed seven runs in three and a third innings against Sultanes de Monterrey.
On Sunday night, the American hurler allowed just three hits through seven shutout innings along with nine strikeouts. Saltillo’s Kelvin Marte was even more impressive as he allowed one hit in eight shutout innings with 11 punchouts. Marte never really flirted with perfection as he allowed the Toros’ lone hit of the game in the third inning off the bat of Jio Mier. The intense clash was forced into extra innings and Daniel Moskos, who was going into this game with an ERA of 0.00, allowed a two-run home run by Steve Carrillo in the 10th inning. The home team could not do anything against former Nationals’ pitcher Rafael Martin in the bottom half of the inning as the California native picked up his seventh save of the season to seal the game.