The Tijuana Toros wrapped up a three-game series against Sultanes de Monterrey with a dominant 5-1 win this Thursday. With that win, the Border City Bulls took the three-game set, two games to one, against arguably the best team in the LMB. Monterrey has the best record in the LMB Zona Norte division at 24-11 and were the favorites to take this series.
Tijuana does not have a bad team itself and prevailed in this series to improve to a 20-15 record, good enough for second-place in the Zona Norte division. The three games were filled with excitement and runs at the Estadio Gasmart, and here is a rundown of what happened in this series:
Game 1: Sultanes de Monterrey 10-1 Tijuana Toros
Tijuana was thrashed in the first game of a series, with Kyle Lobstein’s first bad start this year. The American hurler had been pristine up until this game as he had allowed a maximum of two runs in six starts. The former Pirates and Tigers’ pitcher allowed seven runs in just three and a third innings and took his first loss of the year.
For Monterrey, Felipe Gonzalez was going into this game in bad form, with five runs allowed in his last start, but he only allowed a run in five innings on Tuesday night. The Toros’ bullpen also allowed three runs, with the only saving grace being Aaron Kurcz and Paul Paez, who collectively threw three shutout innings. Offensively, Tijuana only had five hits, and the lone run of the game for Pedro Mere’s team came from Jio Mier. Sultanes were led by Chris Roberson, who hit a three-run home run, and Tijuana native Ricky Alvarez, who put up three RBI against his hometown team.
Game 2: Sultanes de Monterrey 1-11 Tijuana Toros
The Toros started off the series in the worst way possible, but came back on Wednesday night and returned the favor. The bats were absent on Tuesday for Pedro Mere, but sprung to life on Wednesday with 11 runs and stellar pitching to accompany it. Kyle Lobstein allowed seven runs in Game 1, but this time it was Monterrey’s Marco Tovar that allowed seven runs in his start. Tovar had been having a great season, with a 4-1 record heading into this game, but collapsed at the Estadio Gasmart. In contrast to Tovar, Tijuana’s Manny Barreda had been struggling, but had a great start with just a run allowed in five innings.
The Bullpen was immense for the border city team as Pedro Villarreal, Jesus Pirela, Sergio Alvarado, Hector Galvan, and Gerardo Sanchez allowed no runs out of the ‘pen. The Toros were led by just four players offensively, specifically by Roberto Lopez and Isaac Rodriguez. Lopez finished the encounter with a three-run dinger and four RBI while Rodriguez hit a two-run blast and had three RBI. The other standout at the plate was Jio Mier, who went 2-for-4 with two RBI, and he was also one of two players for Tijuana that had a multi-hit game, along with Isaac Rodriguez. The lone run of the game produced for Monterrey came from Ramiro Pena as Sultanes were limited to six hits.
Game 3: Sultanes de Monterrey 1-5 Tijuana Toros
Monterrey was limited to a run on six hits in the final game of the series as well while Tijuana was able to do some damage yet again. Miguel Pena had his best start of the season, and his first quality start of the year, as he only allowed a run through six innings. Daniel Moskos, Juan Sandoval, and Jason Urquidez finished off the job out of the bullpen to continue the pen’s success in this series.
Offensively, the Border City Bulls were charged by Corey Brown and Isaac Rodriguez, who were the only players that had multi-hit games. Brown went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI while Rodriguez went 2-for-4 with an RBI, extending his on-base streak to nine games. Monterrey is one of the best-built teams in the league and it was impressive that the Toros limited their rivals to two runs in two games. Roberto Kelly’s team will have a chance to get revenge on Pedro Mere and his men as the teams will face off again at the Estadio Gasmart next week, but first, the Toros will host Saraperos de Saltillo over the weekend.