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Final I Elite League: The San José massacre




In the match in which Portuarios could have lifted the I Liga Elite del Béisbol Cubano title in front of their enthusiastic home crowd, Agricultores took over with a seven-home-run barrage to knock them out 19-5 this Thursday.



There will be a sixth battle in this Final: the series returns to the Mártires de Barbados stadium!


The power and speed of the Agricultores quickly ambushed right-hander José Ignacio Bermudez. They scored runs in every other inning except the first and fifth. With three home runs in the third inning, the absolute leaders of the regular season scored seven runs.


Yordanis Alarcón opened the home run festival, followed by Osvaldo Abreu and Yuniesky Larduet. In a 1-2 count, Alarcón furiously pulled a 73-mph pitch from reliever Pedro Álvarez, who was trying to stop the Agricultores' offensive onslaught. Then, after one out, Rafael Viñales was walked and Guillermo Avilés blasted the ball up the right field wall.


During the fourth inning, the Agricultores' Home Run Derby continued. Abreu and Yordanis Alarcón each had singles, while Yorvany Alarcón hit a double. Then at first pitch, Rafael Viñales hit his 100th home run to close out the rally.


After 40 pitches by Agricultores' starter César García, who allowed just two hits in the first third, Portuarios reacted. A home run by catcher Oscar Valdés with Yasniel González on base opened the score. A single by Yasiel Santoya and a double by Jorge Enrique Alomá added another run. Portuarios scored three more runs in the seventh through a single by Santoya and a home run by Roberto Acevedo. César García, who allowed 11 hits in 5 ⅓ innings, was lifted and was credited win the win after having a comfortable lead.


It was Kelbis Rodriguez, who had pitched 15 innings and struck out 15 Portuarios' hitters in the Elite League, who ended the threat. To seal the knockout, the Agricultores hit three home runs and scored eight runs in the seventh inning. Alexquemer Sánchez and Rafael Viñales each hit their second homers of the afternoon to match Yordanis Alarcón's pair from earlier.


In 41 plate appearances, the Agricultores' power matched the team's 177 plate appearances prior to Game 5 on Thursday. By adding the two home runs by Portuarios, the nine homers tied a National Series record. Prior to this game, Matanzas, with seven home runs, and Pinar del Rio, with two, had the most in a single game during Game 5 of the 55th National Series on March 31, 2016.


Although Portuarios still leads this series 3-2, Agricultores led in runs scored, 52 for 39. Continuing the stellar offensive display, from the leadoff hitter to the sixth batter, they had 14 hits in 25 at-bats, scoring 15 of the team's 19 runs in Game 5. They were 14-for-19, with three doubles, five home runs, and 17 RBIs.



San José was the scene of a real massacre! Pay attention to the following notes:


  • The Alarcón brothers pounded the Teammate-190 baseball. They hit 6-for-10 with four extra bases (two doubles by Yosvany and two home runs by Yordanis), and drove in six runs. In the end, manager Carlos Martí's changes proved him right: he sent Yosvany Alarcón behind home plate, Iván Prieto was benched, and sent Rafael Viñales to first base. Using the talented Dailier Peña to defend leftfield, he gave Alexquemer Sánchez another chance, and Sánchez responded by blasting two home runs.

  • Eight of the nine Agricultores that started Game 5 got at least one hit. It was Andrés de La Cruz, who finished 0-for-5. However, that doesn't take anything away from his phenomenal postseason: he had hit five extra bases (four doubles and one home run) in the first four games, and brought home 56% of the nine runners he found in scoring position.

  • Leadoff check: Unlike Game 4, when Agricultores couldn't unleash its power against Marcos Ortega, this time their leadoff hitter reached base in five of the seven innings played. The only time they failed to score was in the first inning, when Osvaldo Abreu grounded into a double play.

  • The horror trio: Who stops them?... The Alarcón brothers, Yordanis and Yosvany, and Rafa Viñales, have been a deadly force against Portuarios in this final: they produced a combined record of 9-for-14, with nine runs scored, 12 RBIs, two doubles and four home runs against the Portuarios pitchers this Thursday in Game 5. Certainly it's not a mistake, and I also believe that even in video games, it is quite difficult to have such production.


Of course, we know that there is nothing predictable in baseball, but if the Portuarios pitchers manage to stop the explosiveness of those three hitters, like Yadián Martínez did in Game 2 and Marcos Ortega in Game 4, Agricultores would be in real trouble in Game 6. Is there still a doubt in your mind? Consider these numbers: the Alarcón' brother and Viñales have scored 50% of the runs (26 of 52) the team has scored in this Final, have 53.9% of RBIs (27 of 51), and 57.1% of home runs (8 of 14).


As a result, there will be Game 6! Then... let's take a horse carriage to Bayamo!


(Photo: Home run celebrations among Agricultores players/Jit.cu)

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