By Circles Robinson
HAVANA TIMES, April 12 — Ciego de Avila dealt a crushing blow to Granma in Game 5 of their Eastern Division playoff series on Monday, scoring 10 runs in the top of the ninth to win 17-3.
Ciego now has a 3-2 series lead (after being down 2-1) and moves home for games six and seven if needed.
In the Western Division, Cienfuegos (2-3) stayed alive by winning a 14-10 slugfest over Pinar del Rio (3-2).
Both series have demonstrated what baseball critics have said all year, that the pitching on the island has taken a back seat to hitters this season.
Yoelvis Fiss blasted two homers and drove in eight runs to lead Ciego de Avila, which notched its important win backed by the solid pitching of ace Vladimir Garcia who went eight innings allowing two earned runs on seven hits.
A parade of Granma pitchers were massacred by the Ciego attack with reliever Alexei Alarcon taking the loss.
In Pinar del Rio, the series favorite Cienfuegos came alive in the early innings to take a 9-2 lead after three and then hung on to manage its second win of the series against three losses. Games six and if necessary seven, will take place back in Cienfuegos on Wednesday and Thursday.
Cienfuegos was led by Yasiel Puig who had three hits including two homers and three runs batted in. Darian Gonzalez and Erisbel Barbaro had two RBIs each and slugger Jose Dariel Abreu crossed the plate three times.
The winning pitcher was Duniel Ibarra who gave up eight hits and two runs over the final five innings. Starter Vladimir Baños (2 innings, 5 runs), took the loss for Pinar del Rio.