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Saturday action saw Villa Clara tightening its grip on first place in the Oriente and Matanzas losing its sole ownership of the top spot in the Occidente. Also in a crucial night game affecting the Oriente pennant chase, loser Granma dropped into a fourth-place tie with Santiago while victorious Holguín climbed back out of the division basement. One final match of much less significance found the Guantánamo Indios winning on home turf and in the process knocking Camagüey into the league cellar. The Guantánamo win not only scuttled Camagüey but also prevented the victors from themselves slidding to the bottom of the pack among into the Oriente League also-rans.
Villa Clara stretched its slim first-place margin to two full lengths over runner-up Ciego de Avila on the strength of a late-game rally highlighted by Aledmis Diaz’s game-winning two run homer in the bottom of the eighth frame. Scoring all five runs in the final three innings, the Orangemen were able to wipe out a strong six-inning effort by Artemisa starter Jonder Martinez. Holguín dumped visiting Granma behind 6.2 innings of strong relief hurling by Pablo Millan Fernández. In a losing effort for the Stallions, clean-up hitter Yordanis Samón collected hit number 123, moving him into a tie with Holguín’s Yordan Manduley.
In the ongoing see-saw battle for the Occidental division leadership between Matanzas and Industriales, the Blue Lions received a large boost from Metros – their friendly Havana rivals – when Luis Suarez’s club knocked off the Crocodiles of Victor Mesa largely on the strength of impressive slugging by former Blues regulars Stayler Hernández and Roberto Carlos Ramírez. Staler knocked home three runs on the strength of a pair of triples; shortstop Ramírez – currently the league’s number seven hitter at .344 – chipped in with four safeties (two of them doubles) to raise his season’s total to 122 – only one behind Samón and Manduley.
Results of Saturday, April 14, 2012
(Boldface team is home club)
Villa Clara 5, Artemisa 4
Metropolitanos 9, Matanzas 5
Guantánamo 4, Camagüey 5
Holguín 5, Granma 2
Idle: All other teams
League Standings (April 14, 2012)
Boldface teams have clinched playoff appearance
|Pinar del Río||93||45||48||.482||8.5|
|Isla de la Juventud||90||37||53||.411||15.0|
|Ciego de Avila||90||52||38||.578||2.0|
|Santiago de Cuba||90||50||40||.556||4.0|
Individual Batting Leaders
Ave: José Dariel Abreu (Cienfuegos) .386
Hits: Yordan Manduley (Holguín) 123
Hits: Yordanis Samón (Granma) 123
Runs: Ramón Tamayo (Granma) 83
HR: Alfredo Despaigne (Granma) 35 (new league record)
RBI: Alfredo Despaigne (Granma) 101
Slugging: José Dariel Abreu (Cienfuegos) .814
Individual Pitching Leaders
Wins: Ismel Jiménez (Sancti Spíritus) 16
ERA: Vladimir García (Ciego de Avila) 1.78
Complete Games: Vladimir García (Ciego de Avila) 11
Saves: Danni Aguilera (Isla de la Juventud) 25
Ks: Yadier Pedroso (Artemisa) 120
Ks: Odrisamer Despaigne (Industriales) 120
Innings: Ismel Jiménez (Sancti Spíritus) 177.0