Sancti Spiritus Slugger Eriel Sanchez

HAVANA TIMES, December 22.- Last week in Cuban baseball ended with slight changes in the Western Division standings and Villa Clara (14-1) continuing on top the East after finally losing its first game of the season.

Industriales (10-7) had a tough time playing against lowly Metropolitanos and barely escaped a sweep by winning the final game of its three game series 8-6 on Sunday, coming from behind after Metros took a 5-1 lead in the fourth. Odrisamer Despaigne picked up his second win against two losses.

La Habana (9-6), which plays out of the province that surrounds the capital city, swept its series against Matanzas (4-14) to pull into a tie with Industriales. Pinar del Rio (10-9), which lost three games to Sancti Spiritus (7-10), is one game back in the western standings. Catcher and DH Elier Sanchez broke out of terrible slump with 3 homers and 8 hits in 13 at-bats against Pinar.

In the East, one would think a 14-1 record would put a team well ahead, but after losing it’s first game, Villa Clara holds a mere 1.5 game lead over Ciego de Avila (14-4). Holguin (12-6) is only 3.5 back after an easy 11-0 win over hard-hitting Las Tunas. Luis Miguel Rodriguez (3-1) gave up only three hits to get the win.

Santiago de Cuba (8-9), the defending league champions, managed to break Villa Clara’s streak but lost the series 2-1 despite playing at home. Santiago is now in an unfamiliar fifth place, 7 games out.


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