HAVANA TIMES — Pinar del Rio won the Cuban baseball championship on Wednesday with a 9-6 win to take their series four games to two before a highly disappointed Matanzas home crowd.
With Matanzas up 3-2, Luis A. Valdes, turned the tables with a sixth inning no-out Grand Slam that gave Pinar the lead they would not relinquish. Yosvani Torres, this year’s league MVP was the winning pitcher. He got off to a rocky start due to errors by shortstop Valdes and catcher Lorenzo Quintana allowed the home team to score three runs in the first inning.
Torres then took control but wasn’t able to pitch as long as he would have liked, leaving in the bottom of the sixth as Matanzas scored two to put the game within reach at 7-5.
Rookie of the year Vladimir Gutierrez pitched well in relief, although Vladimir Baños was need to get the final outs when the 19-year-old gave up two singles to open the bottom of the ninth.
Baños closed in stellar fashion by striking out pinch hitter Lazaro Herrera; getting Danier Moreira on an easy roller and striking out Ariel Sanchez.
Joel Suarez was the starter for Matanzas but it was Yoelkis Cruz, victim of the grand slam, that took the loss after several innings of having contained the Pinar lineup.
So Pinar del Rio, that team that also eliminated Havana’s Industriales despite being down three games to one in the semifinals, managed to defeat Matanzas, the team that had led the league most of the season and was a clear favorite when the post season began.