The Tijuana Toros just finished off a six-game road trip by winning two out of three games at the Estadio Francisco Villa against Generales de Durango.
The offense was the main talking point of the series as it produced 42 runs throughout the three games. Cyle Hankerd stayed hot and was the main run producer in the series with nine RBI. Also worth noting is that Isaac Rodriguez’s hitting streak ended at 19 games as he went 0-for-4 in the second game of the three-game set. It was only the second time all season that Rodriguez had been shut out as he continues to impress with a .434 batting average.
The Border City Bulls improved to a 16-11 record after this series, but are still trailing first place Sultanes de Monterrey by two games. Pedro Mere’s men will now go back to Tijuana to start a three-game series against Algodoneros de Union Laguna, but first, here is a rundown of what happened in Durango:
Game 1: Tijuana Toros 17-5 Generales de Durango
The offense started off the series with a bang, producing 17 runs past Generales to get a very comfortable win. Surprisingly, there was only one home run in the game and it was a solo shot that came off the bat of Jorge Cantu. The doubles really led Tijuana to victory as the Bulls had 16 hits in the encounter, and eight were doubles. The base running was also on point as Juan Apodaca achieved his first stolen base of the season while Justin Greene picked up his 17th and Isaac Rodriguez swiped his 14th bag of the campaign. Cyle Hankerd was the standout at the plate in this game as he went 4-for-6 with two doubles and four RBI. Jorge Cantu was another key player for Pedro Mere as he went 2-for-4 with a double, home run, and three RBI. Corey Brown, Isaac Rodriguez, and Gabriel Gutierrez produced two runs each while Dustin Martin and Juan Apodaca picked up an RBI each.
The most disappointing player on the day was easily Carlos Rivero, who went 0-for-6 with two strikeouts. The pitching was solid on the day as Miguel Pena allowed just two runs in five innings along with five strikeouts. The 48-year-old pitcher, Rafael Diaz, tossed two scoreless frames out of the bullpen, but Aaron Kurcz did allow two runs and Fernando Gallegos allowed a run of his own in relief. The win was a good one to start off the series in Durango for Tijuana and foreshadowed the onslaught that would come on Sunday.
Game 2: Tijuana Toros 2-8 Generales de Durango
The Toros’ offense died down in the second game as it did have 10 hits, but only two runs to show for it. Isaac Rodriguez ended his hitting streak at 19 games as he went 0-for-4 in this game, but he did produce one of the two runs in the game for the border city side. The only other run of the game for Tijuana was produced by Cyle Hankerd, who went 3-for-3 with a double and a walk in the encounter. Durango was led by Jesus Loya and Jose Luna, who had three RBI each, along with starting pitcher Tiago Da Silva, who only allowed a run in six innings of work.
After three consecutive victories, Alex Sanabia had a rough day on the mound as he allowed seven runs on eight hits in just four innings. The bullpen behind the San Diego native only allowed a run through four innings and managed to strike out three batters as well. The loss was a rough one for the Border City Bulls, especially after producing 17 runs in the first game of the series, but the offense came back to life in the final game of the series.
Game 3: Tijuana Toros 23-4 Generales de Durango
¡GANAMOS! ¡RÉCORD histórico para nuestra franquicia en carreras y hits!
??Toros de Tijuana 23
?Vida 1420AM | ?AYM Sports
— Toros de Tijuana?? (@TorosDeTijuana) April 22, 2018
The Toros really bounced back in the final game of the three-game set as the offense produced 23 runs on 27 hits. Some teams even struggle to get this type of production in a week, and it was amazing that Tijuana’s batters did this in nine innings. Corey Brown was the top player at the plate with a three-run home run and five RBI on the day. Cyle Hankerd was not far away from Brown as he went 4-for-5 with a triple and four RBI. Dustin Martin, Carlos Rivero, and Jio Mier followed with three RBI each while Justin Greene and Roberto Lopez produced a couple of runs of their own. Justin Greene, Cyle Hankerd, and Roberto Lopez all had four hits in the game while Isaac Rodriguez, Carlos Rivero, and Jio Mier all had three hits.
The only Toro to not come away with a hit on the day was catcher Gabriel Gutierrez, but he still had a couple of walks to his name. The pitching was overshadowed by the immense effort by the bats, but Carlos Hernandez provided a quality start as he only allowed two runs in six and a third innings. Fernando Gallegos and Gerardo Sanchez were flawless out of the ‘pen, but Pedro Villarreal did allow two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning. For Durango, starting pitcher Danny Gutierrez was catastrophic as he only achieved an out and allowed six runs. Matias Carrillo then went on to use eight pitchers after Gutierrez and only two of the eight did not allow any runs. The win was huge for Tijuana and was really a statement, demonstrating the potential this lineup has against any team in the league.