The Venezuelan Winter League semifinals kicked off on Thursday night. Both series are tied at one game a piece heading into today’s off day.
In Game 1, Zulia beat Caribes 3-2, despite collecting just two hits.
In Game 2, Caribes beat Zulia, 7-1.
In Game 1 of the other series, La Guaira beat Lara 7-6, as they scored the go ahead run in the top of the ninth on a Heiker Meneses RBI double with one out. That came after blowing a 5-0 lead after one inning.
KC Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar (batting sixth) went 2-for-5 with two runs scored for La Guaira. He hit two home runs, a three-run shot in the first and a solo shot to tie the game at 6-6 in the top of the eighth. Esky’s game-tying homer came after a pitching change.
Centerfielder Paulo Orlando went 2-for-4 in the loss. He doubled and drove in three runs, though he did strike out twice. Orlando singled in a run with two outs in the fifth and doubled in two runs in the seventh to give Lara the short-lived lead (he was standing in the on-deck circle when the game ended).
In Game 2, Lara beat La Guaira, 9-4. Lara scored five runs in the sixth and four runs in the seventh. Orlando moved to the second spot in the order and went 2-for-5 with a double and a run scored. He struck out twice.
Esky went 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored in the loss. He was pinch hit for in the ninth.
The round robin portion of the Dominican Winter League playoffs continue. However, Aguilas has clinched a spot in the finals after winning last night to improve to 11-2 in the playoffs. They also clinched home-field advantage.
On Thursday night, Licey beat Gigantes, 3-2.
Right fielder Jorge Bonifacio was back in the lineup for Licey (batting sixth) and he went 1-for-3. He did commit his first playoff error. Lefty Tim Hill picked up his third hold of the postseason with Licey, allowing one hit over 2/3 of an inning.
On Friday night, Aguilas clinched the finals berth by beating Licey, 6-0. Angel Franco started at second base and batted ninth. He went 1-for-3 in the win. Bonifacio went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in the loss. He did throw a runner out at the plate.
In the other game, Gigantes beat Escogido, 5-3.
There is a battle for the second spot in the finals:
- Licey 6-9
- Gigantes 5-8
- Escogido 5-9
*The Clemente League Finals kick off tonight between Santurce and Caguas.