HAVANA TIMES — In Cuban baseball playoff games on Monday, Industriales defeated Pinar del Rio by a score of 7-3 and moved ahead 2-1 in their series while Villa Clara saved face with a 4-2 win over Matanzas after losing the first three games of their best-of-seven series.
Playing at home in Havana at the Latinoamericano stadium before a packed audience of 54,111 fans Industriales received a stellar long relief performance from 19-year-old Pedro Duran (7 innings, no runs and only 3 hits) after out-of-control starter Noelvis Etensa was unable to record an out in the first inning.
Industriales was led by a two run doublé by Rudy Reyes and RBI single by Alexander Malleta in the third inning to take a 4-1 lead. Later Frank Camilo Morejon drove in two runs with a double and Raiko Olivares, who had a perfect 3-for-3, drove in another.
Pinar del Rio scored one in the first and two in the ninth on RBIs from Yoel Santos, Lorenzo Quintana and Dayron Hernandez. The losing pitcher was Julio Martínez (7-4).
Not wanting to be swept, VC came out swinging in the bottom of the first with doubles by Yuniet Flores and Yorbis Borroto followed by a two-run homer from Yordanis Linares. Matanzas starter and losing pitcher Yoel Suarez was immediately pulled, unable to record an out.
The rest of the game proved a pitchers duel between Yasmani Hernández (4.2 innings, 6 hits, two runs, 1 earned) and 4.1 innings of near perfect 1-hit ball from winning pitcher Robelio Carrillo for Villa Clara and four Matanzas relievers including six innings of two-hit, no-run pitching from Eduardo Blanco who came on in the first inning.
Game four in the Industriales – Pinar del Rio series takes place tonight at 7:15 p.m. in Havana. Villa Clara hosts game 5 against Matanzas in the afternoon at 3:15 pm.