Winter League Playoff Update

See also: Winter Leagues Head Into Playoffs

Jan. 26

Mexican Pacific League

Hermosillo 4, Mazatlan 3 (Hermosillo leads series 3-0)

Hermosillo took a commanding 3-0 lead in the Mexican Pacific League finals on Thursday with a 4-3 win over Mazatlan. Chris Roberson, Jon Weber and Erubiel Durazo all collected two hits, and catcher Geronimo Gil went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBIs to lead Hermosillo, who will have a chance to wrap up the series in Mazatlan on Friday. Righthander Edgar Gonzalez (3-0, 3.38) will face Mazatlan righthander Francisco Campos (0-0, 3.68).

Venezuelan Winter League

Aragua 6, Magallanes 0 (Aragua leads series 3-0)

Miguel Cabrera went 0-for-4 and stranded four runners in scoring position, but Aragua still pounded out 12 hits to take a 3-0 lead over Magallanes in the seven-game series. Right fielder Alex Romero went 2-for-3 with a homer and drove in three to lead the Tigers.

Dominican Winter League

Aguilas 11, Licey 3 (Aguilas leads series 4-2)

Edwin Encarnacion, Melky Cabrera and Mendy Lopez each homered to lead Aguilas to an 11-3 win against Licey and take a 4-2 lead in the best-of-9 series. Encarnacion went 5-for-5 with an RBI and a pair of runs scored, while Cabrera went 2-for-5 with four RBIs and scored three times. Righthander Jose Lima picked up his second win of the finals, tossing six shutout innings.

Jan. 24

Mexican Pacific League

Hermosillo 10, Mazatlan 7 (Hermosillo leads series 2-0)

It’s not often that a front-office guy homers in a game, but Rockies special assistant to the general manager Vinny Castilla did exactly that and Diamondbacks outfielder Jon Weber hit a three-run, walk-off homer in the 11th as Hermosillo took a 2-0 lead in the finals with a 10-7 win. Castilla, who will retire at the end of the winter season and help the Rockies have a scouting presence in his native country, hit a three-run home run in the sixth to get Hermosillo back to within two runs. It was Castilla’s fourth homer of the postseason.

Venezuelan Winter League

Aragua 6, Magallanes 2 (Aragua leads series 1-0)

Miguel Cabrera homered twice and drove in three as Aragua defeated Magallanes in the Venezuelan finals opener. Five Aragua pitchers held Magallanes to just five hits, led by starter Cory Bailey, who picked up the victory. The 36-year-old righthander allowed a pair of runs and struck out three over six innings of work. In 26 postseason innings, Bailey is 4-1, 1.75 with an 18-1 strikeout-walk ratio.

Dominican Winter League

Licey 3, Aguilas 2 (Aguilas leads series 3-2)

Licey scored a run in the ninth inning to tighten the Dominican finals with a 3-2 win over Aguilas. Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp went 2-for-4 with an RBI in the victory, as Licey rallied against closer Jose Vargas. The 29-year-old righthander, who went 1-0, 0.00 with six saves during the semifinals, allowed a run on two hits and walked one.

Jan. 22

Mexican Pacific League: Both semifinal series came down to the wire, but Hermosillo–the best team in the league during the regular season–eventually defeated Obregon and Mazatlan knocked off Culiacan with each seven-game series going the distance. The Mexican Pacific League finals begin Tuesday.

Venezuelan Winter League: Magallanes and Aragua emerged from the round-robin tournament, and held their pre-final player draft on Sunday. Magallanes added catcher Henry Blanco, while Aragua picked up first baseman Randall Simon. In order to make room for Simon, the Tigers dropped Diamondbacks catching prospect Miguel Montero from its roster. The Venezuelan final begins Tuesday in Valencia.

Dominican Winter League

Aguilas 9, Licey 3: Aguilas took a one-game lead over Licey in the Dominican Winter League finals with a 9-3 victory. Aguilas received a strong performance from righthander Jose Lima, and Miguel Tejada, Edwin Encarnacion, Tony Batista and Mendy Lopez all homered in the win. Lima allowed three runs on six hits over 6 2/3 innings to earn the win. Game Two of the series will be played Monday in Santo Domingo.

Colombia Winter League: Cartagena swept Barranquilla, 4-0, to win the Colombian Winter League title. Tigers outfielder Jolber Cabrera was named the series MVP after he hit .538 (7-for-13) with three doubles, a homer and 10 RBIs. Tigers catcher Yamid Haad also had an outstanding series offensively, hitting .438 and driving in seven runs. Righthanders Javier Ortiz and Chris Jakubauskas starred on the mound for Cartagena. Ortiz went 1-0, 1.13 over eight strong innings and Jakubauskas tossed a complete game five-hit shutout in the clincher.

Nicaraguan Winter League: In Nicaragua, Boer holds a one-game lead over Leon with four games to play in the regular season. Leon has two of the circuit’s best hitters in outfielders Justo Rivas and Esteban Ramirez, who currently rank 1-2 in the batting race. Rivas, 25, leads the league with a .377 average, while Ramirez, 25, is hitting .354. American outfielder Clyde Williams, who played in the independent Atlantic League last season, is ranked fifth in the league in hitting, batting .307 for Boer.

Jan. 18

Mexican Pacific League

Mexican Pacific
League Playoffs
Hermosillo defeated Obergon 4-3, and  Mazatlan defeated Culiacan, 4-3 in best-of-seven semifinal
series. Hermosillo and Mazatlan will meet in the finals beginning Tuesday.

Obregon 5, Hermosillo 1 (Hermosillo leads series 3-2): Facing elimination, Obregon got a huge start from lefthander Michael Tejeda to stay alive against Hermosillo with a 5-1 win. Tejeda allowed a run on seven hits over 5 1/3 innings and struck out four. Righthanders Ariel Prieto and Fernando Desgue finished off the game with 3 2/3 scoreless innings of relief for Obregon. Game Five of the series will be played Friday in Hermosillo.

Culiacan 3, Mazatlan 1 (Culiacan leads series 3-2): Culiacan took a one-game lead over Mazatlan on Wednesday behind Karim Garcia’™s two homers and 7 2/3 strong innings by righthander Jorge Campillo. Garcia now has five home runs in the Mexican Pacific League playoffs. Cardinals lefthander Troy Cate took the loss for Mazatlan despite striking out eight and walking two over seven innings of work. Game Five of the series will be played Friday at Mazatlan.

Venezuelan Winter League

Venezuela League
Final round-robin standings
Magallanes 12 4 .750
Aragua 11 5 .688 1.0
Zulia 8 8 .500 4.0
Lara 6 10 .375 6.0
Caracas 3 13 .188 9.0

Zulia 7, Aragua 2: Zulia racked up 18 hits, led by Diamondbacks outfielder Carlos Gonzalez’™s 3-for-4 performance, as Aguilas defeated Aragua, 7-2 on Wednesday. Righthander Heath Totten allowed a pair of runs on five hits over six innings, while 6-foot-5 lefty Jonathan Rodriguez whiffed two over 1 2/3 innings of relief in the victory.

Magallanes 7, Caracas 4: Richard Hidalgo had a pair of hits and drove in two runs to lead Magallanes past Caracas, 7-4 on Wednesday. Righthander Miguel Pinango earned the win, allowing a run on one hit over the final two innings.

Dominican Winter League

Dominican League
Final round-robin standings
Aguilas 12 5 .706
Tigres 12 6 .667 1.5
Gigantes 10 8 .556 2.5
Azucareros 1 16 .062 11

Licey 7, Gigantes 2: Tigres righthander Len Pictoa picked up his third win of the round-robin tournament as Licey downed the Gigantes, 7-2 on Wednesday. The 40-year-old righthander allowed an earned run on five hits, struck out four and did not issue a walk over 5 2/3 innings. The top three hitters in Licey’™s lineup–Anderson Hernandez, Erick Aybar and Jose Offerman–combined for eight hits and Carlos Ruiz hit a grand slam in the eighth to seal the victory.

Jan. 17

Mexican Pacific League

Hermosillo 11, Obregon 3 (Hermosillo leads series 3-1): The top three hitters in the Naranjeros’ lineup–Chris Roberson, Jon Weber and Erubiel Durazo–combined for seven hits and six RBIs as Hermosillo won its third straight game in the series, knocking off Obregon, 11-3. Righthander Justin Lehr allowed just four hits and struck out six in six innings for the Naranjeros.

Culiacan 4, Mazatlan 2 (Series tied 2-2): Culiacan outfielder Roberto Mendez went 3-for-4 with a run scored and catcher Emmanuel Valdez added a two-run double to lead the Tomateros past the Venados, 4-2. Raul Sanchez and Sergio Gastelum each homered for Mazatlan in the loss.

Venezuelan Winter League

Aragua 5, Lara 1: Ramon Hernandez homered for the second straight day and drove in three to lead Aragua past Lara, 5-1. Righthander Cory Bailey scattered four hits over 6 1/3 innings and struck out five for the Tigres in the win.

Caracas 8, Magallanes 2: First baseman Derrick White, shortstop Alex Gonzalez and second baseman Marco Scutaro all homered to lead the Leones to an 8-2 win over Magallanes–handing the Navegantes only their second loss in the round-robin tournament.

Dominican Winter League

Licey 2, Aguilas 0:
Tigres designated hitter Napoleon Calzado drove in both runs, and veteran lefthander Randy Leek tossed 6 1/3 shutout innings as Licey blanked Aguilas, 2-0. Orioles shortstop Miguel Tejada made his winter debut, going 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout.

Azucareros 9, Gigantes 4: With two games left in the tournament and no wins to show for it, Azucareros finally turned the tide on Tuesday, defeating Gigantes, 9-4. Azucareros rapped out 11 hits, highlighted by a Chad Moeller home run, and Orioles righthander Fredy Deza picked up the victory by pitching two perfect innings.

Colombia/Nicaragua: In the Colombian Winter League, the Tigres catcher Yamid Haad homered to lead Cartagena past Barranquilla, 6-1, to take a 1-0 lead in the championship series. The Nicaraguan Winter League has two weeks of the regular season remaining before beginning that circuit’s championship series on Jan. 30. Currently, Leon holds a one-game lead over Boer; and Chinandega sits four games back.

Jan. 16

Mexican Pacific League

Hermosillo 6, Obregon 3 (Hermosillo leads series 2-1): Hermosillo took a 2-1 lead in the semifinal series against Obregon behind six strong innings by righthander Edgar Gonzalez (Diamondbacks). Gonzalez allowed a pair of runs in the first, but settled in and struck out seven over six innings of work. Centerfielder Chris Roberson (Phillies) went 2-for-3 with three runs scored for Hermosillo. Righthander Justin Lehr (0-0, 1.80) faces Obregon righthander Jesus Rodriguez (0-1, 19.64) on Tuesday.

Mazatlan 4, Culiacan 1 (Mazatlan leads series 2-1): Center fielder Dionys Cesar went 2-for-3 with a homer and Mazatlan pounded out 14 hits in all to defeat Culiacan, 4-1. The Deer also received strong pitching, as Jose Silva tossed a complete-game, allowing a run on three hits. The 6-foot-6, 235-pound righthander struck out four and walked three, lowering his postseason ERA to 0.66. With the victory, Mazatlan takes a 2-1 lead in the series. Mazatlan righthander Oscar Bustillos (0-0, 0.00) faces lefthander Rigo Beltran (0-0, 4.50) Tuesday.

Venezuelan Winter League

Lara 7, Caracas 3: Cardenales righthander Giovanni Carrara picked up his second postseason win by scattering seven hits over six innings as Lara topped the Leones, 7-3. Carrara (2-0, 1.06), who pitched in both the Dodgers and Pirates organizations in 2006, allowed just one run, walked one and struck out one. Lara catcher Wiki Gonzalez went 2-for-4 with a home run and three runs scored to pace the Cardenales’ offense.

Zulia 4, Aragua 2: Third baseman Alberto Callaspo and outfielders Carlos Gonzalez and Delvis Pacheco all collected two hits apiece as Zulia defeated Aragua, 4-2. With the win, Zulia moved into third place in the round-robin standings. Magallanes (10-1) currently sits in first, Aragua (6-4) in second, with Lara (3-7) in fourth and Caracas (2-8) in fifth.

Dominican Winter League

Aguilas 3, Gigantes 2; Aguilas 4, Gigantes 2: Designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion continued his hot hitting for Agulias, going 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs in the opening 4-2 win over Gigantes on Monday. Leo Nunez and Jose Vargas combined for three shutout innings of relief in the win, with Vargas picking up his playoff-leading sixth save. In the nightcap of the doubleheader, outfielder Melky Cabrera homered and the Aguilas again got strong pitching from starter Julian Tavarez and five relievers–including Vargas, who picked up another save.

Licey 5, Azucareros 0: Azucareros’ futility in the round-robin tournament continued, as the club fell to 0-16 overall in the postseason with a shutout loss to Licey. Jose Offerman went 3-for-3 with a pair of walks and Anderson Hernandez and Ronnie Belliard collected two hits apiece to lead the Tigers. Licey is now tied with the Gigantes, who both sit two games behind Aguilas, who has a 12-4 record in the postseason.

Colombian Winter League

The Colombian Winter League championship series begins Tuesday in Cartagena, as the Caimanes will take on the Tigers. Three teams–the Caimanes, Tigers and Toros–all made the eight-game round-robin postseason tournament, and the Caimanes finished first with a 6-2 record. Among the players with minor league experience stateside who will be playing in the championship series for the Caimanes are lefthander Trevor Caughey (Orioles), righthander Jon Hunton (Cubs), lefthander Jerry Blevins (Cubs), outfielder Jason Fransz (Orioles) and catcher Morgan Clendenin (Orioles). Infielder Pete Maestrales (Orioles), Joseph Rogers and Byron Baston will be playing for the Tigers in the series.

Jan. 10

Mexican Pacific League

Culiacan 9, Obregon 8: Adan Amezucua, Karim Garcia and Nick Garcia all homered as Culiacan edged Obregon to win their first-round playoff series. Because of the peculiar format of the playoffs, Obregon also advanced to the semifinals. Culiacan will face Mazatlan in one best-of-seven semifinal and Obregon will face Hermosillo in the other semifinal. Obregon tried to rally in the eighth, with five runs thanks in part to Ryan Spillborghs home run. Jose Silva pitched the final 1 1/3 to pick up the save while Alfredo Aceves picked up the win.

Dominican Winter League

Aguilas 3, Azucareros 0: Derek Lee struck out five in six scoreless innings of work, Melky Cabrera homered and drove in two and Tony Abreu tripled  as Aguilas easily beat Azucareros. The loss dropped Azucareros to 0-13.

Gigantes 4, Licey 1: Pedro Feliz and Wilson Valdez each doubled and drove in a run and Matt Beech and Jorge de Paula combined to shut down Licey as the Gigantes remained on top of the Dominican round-robin playoff standings. Kendry Morales, who tweaked his knee during batting practice on Tuesday, did not play on Wednesday after leaving Tuesday’s game early. The injury is not thought to be serious.

Venezuelan Winter League

Aragua 3, Caracas 1: Renyel Pinto struck out six and allowed only one run in five innings while Luis Rodriguez went 2-for-3 with an RBI as Aragua remained in second place in the round-robin standings. Caracas dropped to 0-7.

Lara 6, Zuilia 1: Luis Ugueto and Robert Perez each homered and Edgardo Alfonso went 2-for-4 with two runs scored as Lara knocked up Zulia to jump into third place in the round-robin standings. Lara’s Giovanni Carrara picked up the win, allowing one run in six innings while Zulia’s Stephen Randolph was beaten up for four runs in four innings.

Jan. 9

Mexican Pacific League

Obregon 6, Culiacan 5: Obregon scored five runs in the second, then held on to beat Culiacan to force a deciding Game 7 in their first-round playoff series. Center fielder Ryan Spilborghs fifth-inning home run proved to be the difference. Culiacan starter Raul Valdes was knocked out after only 1 2/3 innings of work. The two teams will play again tonight at Obregon to decide the series.

Venezuelan Winter League

Magallanes 5, Caracas 2: Magallanes remained undefeated and ensured that Caracas remained winless with an easy win on Tuesday night. Richard Hidalgo continued to swing a hot bat as he homered for the fifth time while Endy Chavez added a triple.

Zulia 2, Lara 1: Zulia rallied with one in the ninth to beat Lara and take over third place in the round-robin standings. Rich Garces struck out one in a scoreless ninth to pick up the win.

Dominican Winter League

Gigantes 7, Azucareros 3:
The Gigantes took over first place in the 18-game round-robin playoff tournament with an easy win over the winless Azucareros. Alexi Casilla drove in two runs and Pedro Feliz went 2-for-5 with three RBIs to lead the Gigantes. The Azucareros have officially been eliminated.

Licey 5, Aguilas 1: Randy Leek allowed only one run while striking out six in a complete-game win as Licey edged to within one game of Aguilas for second place in the round-robin tournament. Jose Bautista homered and drove in four to lead Licey’s offense.

Jan. 8

Venezuelan Winter League

Magallanes 3, Aguilas 0: Jeremi Gonzalez struck out eight and held Aguilas to four hits in a complete-game shutout as Magallanes remained undefeated in the round-robin playoff series. Zulia starter Chris Begg was effective as well, allowing only one run in six innings.

Lara 4, Aragua 3: Luis Ugeto went 3-for-5 and Rene Reyes went 2-for-4 with a run scored as Lara knocked off Aragua in 10 innings. The win was a crucial one for Lara as the Cardenales are now 1 1/2 games behind Aragua for second place in the round-robin playoff series.

Dominican Winter League

Licey 5, Azucareros 2: At this point, it’s safe to say that Azucareros is just ready for the round-robin series to end. The speed bump of the Dominican Winter League playoffs dropped to 0-11 with a loss to Licey. Licey was led by Eric Aybar’s 2-for-5 and Emilio Bonifacio’s 3-for-5 nights.

Gigantes 6, Aguilas 4: Edwin Encarnacion went 2-for-4 with a home run and a double as the Gigantes knocked off Aguilas in a crucial Dominican Winter League round robin game. The win dropped Aguilas into a tie with Gigantes for first place in the series.

Jan. 7

Dominican Winter League

Aguilas 7, Licey 0: Tony Abreu had three hits and Tony Batista added a home run as Aguilas remained on top of the Dominican Winter League round robin playoffs with a shutout of Licey. Jose Lima allowed five hits in 6 2/3 innings to shut down the Licey bats.

Gigantes 7, Azucareros 0: More than halfway through the round-robin schedule Azucarerors is out of the playoff race. The question now is whether they will even win a game. The Gigantes had little trouble sending Azucareros to an 0-10 record. Kendry Morales may be the hottest hitter in the winter leagues. He homered twice, doubled and drove in six runs to improve his average for the playoffs to .412.

Mexican Pacific League

Mazatlan 6, Navojoa 5: Navojoa scored two runs in the ninth to keep their season alive, but only for another inning as Heber Gomez’ sacrifice fly in the 10th drove in Adrian Gonzalez with the winning run as Mazatlan finished off Navojoa in the best-of-seven series.

Hermosillo 8, Los Mochis 6: Erubiel Durazo, Jon Weber and Geronimo Gil each had three hits as Hermosillo advanced to the semifinals with a win over Los Mochis. Luther Hackman picked up the win for Hermosillo.

Culiacan 3, Obregon 2: Ben Francisco and Adan Amezcua each homered and Jorge Campillo allowed one run in six innings as Culiacan knocked off Obregon to take a 3-2 lead in their first-round series. Culiacan can wrap up the series with a win on Tuesday night.

Venezuelan Winter League

Aragua 8, Caracas 0: Aragua had little trouble in keeping Caracas winless as Ronny Cedeno went 2-for-4 with three runs scored. Caracas starter Wil Ledezma lasted only one third of an inning as he walked four of the five batters he faced.

Magallanes 5, Aguilas 3: Tim McClaskey allowed only two hits in six innings to pick up the win and Francisco Rodriguez pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings to squelch an Aguilas comeback as Magallanes stayed perfect in the round-robin playoffs.

Jan. 5

Dominican Winter League

Aguilas 6, Gigantes 2: Edwin Encarnacion’s three-run home run and Miguel Cabrera’s 3-for-4 night led Aguilas to a key win over Gigantes. The win moved Aguilas into first place in the round-robin playoff tournament. Fausto Carmona picked up the win with five scoreless innings.

Tigres 3, Azucareros 2: Jose Offerman drove in two with a double and Eric Aybar scored two runs as Licey knocked off Azucareros. Azucareros has proven to be the patsies of the tournament as they remain winless at 0-9. Felix Rodriguez picked up the win with a scoreless inning of relief work while Nelson Figueroa went the entire way for Azucareros, giving up only one earned run, but he was victimized by two errors.

Venezuela Winter League

Zulia 16, Caracas 4: Center fielder Jonel Pacheco (Mets) and right fielder Carlos Gonzalez (Diamondbacks) combined for seven hits as Aguilas routed Caracas. Vladimir Nunez allowed only one run in five innings to pick up the win while Caracas’ starter Andrew Lorraine was battered for seven runs in 5 1/3 innings.

Magallanes 6, Lara 3: Richard Hidalgo went 4-for-4 with three runs scored and four RBIs and Frank Diaz (Nationals) went 2-for-4 with two runs scored as Magallanes rallied to beat Lara. New Nationals pick-up Emiliano Fruto allowed two runs in 2/3 of an inning to pick up the loss.

Jan. 4

Dominican Winter League

Aguilas 8, Tigres 6:
Aguilas stayed within one game of the tournament-leading Gigantes by
defeating Licey, 8-6 on Wednesday. Yankees outfielder Melky Cabrera
went 2-for-3 with a home run to lead the Aguilas offense. Jason Vargas earned the save for Aguilas, allowing one hit and
striking out one in the ninth.

Gigantes 6, Azucareros 2:
Angels first baseman Kendry Morales doubled twice and Victor Mendez
scored a pair of runs to lead Gigantes past Azucareros, 6-2. Brewers
righthander Jose Capellan allowed a run on one hit over six innings and
struck out three for Gigantes, who stayed on top of the round-robin
standings with the victory.

Venezuelan Winter League

Aragua 4, Lara 2:
Braves outfielder Gregor Blanco had a pair of hits and 35-year-old
righthander Cory Bailey pitched 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief to
lead the Tigres over the Cardenales, 4-2.

Magallanes 6, Zulia 4: Endy
Chavez went 2-for-4 with a pair of runs scored and Tomas Perez
collected three hits as Magallanes defeated Aguilas, 6-4. Diamondbacks
second baseman Alberto Callaspo had a pair of hits and White Sox first
baseman Juan Camacho hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning, but it
wasn’t enough for Zulia.

Mexican Pacific League

Hermosillo 7, Los Mochis 2:
Vinny Castilla and Erubiel Durazo each homered and Mark DiFelice
allowed only one run in six innings as Hermosillo trounced Los Mochis
to take a two games to zero lead in the best-of-seven series. It was
yet another strong start for DiFelice who was 1-1, 1.63 in 28 innings
during the Mexican Pacific League’s regular season.

Mazatlan 3, Navojoa 2: Miguel
Ojeda drove in Sergio Gastelum in the bottom of the 13th inning to lead
Mazatlan to a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven first round
playoff series. Ojeda drove in all three runs for the Deer in the
pitchers’ duel. Navojoa had jumped out to a 2-0 lead heading into the
seventh, but Ojeda doubled off of Navojoa starter Mario Mendoza to tie
the game. Neither team scored again until Ojeda’s 13th inning heroics.

Obregon 8, Culiacan 5:
Carlos Elizalde pitched seven scoreless innings as Obregon evened their
series with Culiacan 1-1. Andy Tracy homered to help lead Obregon.