By Circles Robinson
HAVANA TIMES, April 30 — Ciego de Avila Manager Roger Machado took a gamble by leaving in his rookie hurler Yadir Rabi, 22, in a crucial situation and it paid off.
His Tigers are now down 3-2 in the best-of-seven Cuba championship series with Pinar del Rio, instead of defeat.
Down 2-0 in the bottom of the sixth inning, Pinar’s DH Yosvani Peraza took a called third strike from Rabi with one out and the bases loaded and Mijain Rivera flied out to end the inning with no runs.
Peraza did manage a fence buster in the bottom of the ninth off Rabi, but by then Ciego was up 3-0 and nobody was on base.
Machado brought in Yander Guevara who got the last two outs to end the game and force a return to Ciego de Avila for Game Six on Monday May 2nd.
Yoelvis Fiss had a solo homer in the ninth and drove in another run in the first on a sacrifice fly to account for two-thirds of Ciego’s run production.
In the fourth Ciego outfielder Rusney Castillo stole a homer from Pinar’s slugger William Saavedra at the top of the right field wall, which would have changed things early on.
Rabi pitched 8.1 innings scattering seven hits and striking out five. The hard luck loser was Julio Alfredo 8.0 innings, four hits, two earned runs.