HAVANA TIMES, April 7 — To the chagrin of the home team fans Granma and Pinar del Rio blasted their way to first game wins on Wednesday in the Cuban baseball semifinal playoffs.
Playing in Ciego de Avila, Granma broke a 3-3 tie with three runs in the seventh and two more in the ninth to win 8-3 in the Eastern Division opener. Alan Tomayo pitched 2.1 innings allowing only one hit to get the win in relief of Ciro Silvino Licea (5 inn, 7 hits, 3 ER).
The powerful Granma battery was led by outfielder Uramis Guerra who went 3-for-4, homered and drove in four runs. Second baseman Roman Tomayo also crossed the plate three times for Granma.
Yadir Radi Gonzalez was the losing pitcher for Ciego de Avila allowing three runs on seven hits in relief of starter Yander Guevarra who got the hook without managing a single out in the first inning.
The Cienfuegos-Pinar del Rio game was a surprise 13-3 blowout in the Western Division opener. With a whopping 21 hits, Pinar scored a run in the first, five in the second and five more in the third. The first six of those runs were scored off one of Cuba’s top lefthanders, Norberto Gonzalez, who was rocked for nine hits in 1.1 innings.
Meanwhile on the mound for Pinar del Rio, Vladimir Baños, who pitched a no-hitter this season, was stellar, allowing only four hits and one earned run for a complete game win.
Catcher Lorenzo Quintana went 3-for-5 with a homer and four RBIs to lead Pinar. Reiner Leon also had three hits and drove in three runs.
The four teams play game two of their best-of-seven semifinal series on Thursday in the same Ciego de Avila and Cienfuegos ballparks.