By GALILEO RODAS
HAVANA TIMES, Dec. 3.- The first game of the long-standing Industriales-Santiago de Cuba baseball rivalry took place Tuesday night at the Latinoamericano Stadium in the capital with the home team shutting out the visitors 4-0.
After losing the season opener at home against Pinar del Rio, Santiago was blanked 4-0 by Industriales, giving its manager German Mesa his first win at the helm of the team he once stared for.
The no-run game was started by lefthander Ian Rendon, who in reality didn’t have his best night, walking 11 batters in less than five innings, 3 short of the undesirable record of 14 owned by Ariel Prieto. Odrisamer Despaigne came on to pitch 4.1 innings in relief to get the win.
German Mesa appeared to have charged his team with that great love of his for baseball and his style to mix speed with offense, using a new line-up that includes third baseman Rudy Reyes batting second and designated hitter Alejandro Regueira batting in the important fifth slot. The new right fielder is Serguei Perez one of the top arms at that position. Batting eighth, he will be trying to strengthen the bottom of the Industriales’ order.
The new Industriales starting second baseman replacing Raiko Olivares is Juan Carlos Torriente, a newcomer coming over from Metropolitanos, the other team that plays out of capital. If Torriente responds at the plate he could help his team a lot.
Santiago, which has won the last two national championships, has seen its “steamroller” offense silenced in the first two outings of the 90-game season.
A welcome sight was Santiago starter Danny Betancourt, trying to make a comeback after arm trouble that forced him to off the mound last season. He went 4.2 innings allowing two earned runs and appears on the road to recovery and decided to help the cause of the champions.
The Industriales-Santiago series includes two more games on Wednesday and Thursday and the baseball fans will be looking for signs of the season to come.