2018 Postseason: Stallions pound Woodcutters 11-5, take 3-2 Cuban Finals lead

The Stallions are now just one win away from the Cuban title, despite trailing this series 2-0 at one point.

Granma came away with a 11-5 win in Game 5 of the Cuban Finals, taking a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series. They are now one win away from their second Cuban title. 

With the Stallions down 2-0 in the series to the Woodcutters, Alain Sánchez y Raidel Martínez were key, helping them win Game 3, 10-6, and start their three-game winning streak to shock the second best team during the regular-season. 

This time around it was starter Ulfrido García, working 5 1/3 innings, allowing four earned runs on ten hits and two walks. He struck out four. 

The left handed was helped by reliever Yosver Zulueta, and closer Raidel Martínez. Zulueta completed one scoreless inning with three hits. He struck out two and walked one. Martínez closed the game pitching 2 2/3 scoreless innings with no hits and a walk. 

Woodcutter’ starter Yoelkis Cruz didn’t last long. The right handed allowed one run in the first inning but with the score tied 1-1 in the bottom of the third, Cruz was pulled out too quickly after Yordan Manduley’ RBI single to drive in Santos who singled and stole second.

His line was:

Yoelkis Cruz SP / Las Tunas (Cuban Finals 2018, Game 5)

IP: 2 H: 4 R: 3 ER: 3 SO: 1 BB: 2 IBB: 1 WP: 0

It was a bad move from manager Abdel Civil. Granma ended up scoring six more runs in the inning that included a Grand Slam by Raúl González against reliever Alejandro Meneses.

Two innings later González hit his second homer of the night and third in two games. The third baseman went 4-for-4 and had five RBIs in the game.

Las Tunas scored four runs in the top of the sixth inning against Ulfrido García and reliever César García. Yosver Zulueta came out to face the heart of the Woodcutters order and gave up a single to Dandel Castro before retiring Yosvany Alarcón and Alexander Ayala, preserving the Stallions lead.

Before the sixth Ulfrido had a decent start, limiting the Woodcutters to just one run over five innings of work.  

Ulfrido García SP / Granma (2018 Cuban Finals, Game 5)

IP: 5.1 H: 10 R: 5 ER: 4 SO: 4 BB: 2 WP: 0

An inning later Zulueta was out of the game, after loading the bases with one out. Raidel Martínez entered the game and with Yunieky Larduet at bat Martínez was able to induce a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.

The young right handed ended up retiring six of the seven batters he faced to preserve the lead and taking the save.

Granma’s last two runs of the game came in the eighth inning, after Yordan Manduley’s two-run homer against rookie reliever Angel Sánchez. 

Granma is now 6-0 at Mártires de Barbados Stadium this postseason. They won the Cuban Semifinals taking three games against Matanzas, and now all three against Las Tunas. 

Now with a 3-2 lead, despite leaving the Barbados Stadium, the Stallions have the momentum. After leaving Las Tunas with a 2-0 lead, the Woodcutters now have to win two more at home or they're done for the season. 

Friday is a day off from game play, as both teams will go back to Las Tunas and have workouts in Julio A. Mella Park. Game 6 then takes place Saturday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. The pitching matchup will have Vladimir Baños or Yariel Rodríguez for Las Tunas vs. Yanier González or Leandro Tamayo for Granma.

2018 Cuban Finals

Game 5: Granma Stallions 11, Las Tunas Woodcutters 5

Game 6: Saturday, January 27, 4:00 pm at Julio A. Mella

Granma leads the series 3-2


Source: (Photos: Calixto N. Llánes)