Favorites Take Game One in Cuba’s Playoffs

By Circles Robinson

HAVANA TIMES, May 7 — Pinar del Rio and La Habana, the two favorites to win their Western Division quarterfinal playoffs got off to good start at home on Wednesday.

Pinar beat Sancti Spiritus 6-4 with Pedro Luis Lazo getting the win and Yunieski Maya the save. Both Lazo and Maya were stars on the Cuban national team in the 2nd World Baseball Classic. Lazo survived a three-run homer by Yenier Bello, while Mijain Rivera did the same against Sancti Spiritus ace Ismel Jimenez.

La Habana came from behind to beat Isla de la Juventud with a walk off come-from-behind win in the bottom of the ninth.

In the Habana-Isla game the visitors ruffed up the league ERA leader Yadier Pedroso for seven hits and six runs in 4.1 innings. Likewise Isla starter Carlos Yanes was hit for six runs on six hits in 7.1 innings. Miguel Lahera got the win pitching the final inning in relief. Danni Aguilera took the loss after giving up four hits and two runs, one earned, in relief.

The four western division teams play game two on Thursday, while the Eastern Division kicks off with Santiago de Cuba hosting Villa Clara and Ciego de Avila at home against Holguin.