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The NL was beaten in the major league All-Star clash by Sandy Alomar
Jr.'s two-run homer, while at Maxey Park, it was Crane catcher J.C.
Carrasco doing the honors. His solo shot to lead off the ninth inning
against Pifi Montoya gave the visitors a 11-10 victory and a berth in
the District 4 Tournament semifinals.
For Pecos, the loss not only dropped them into the loser's bracket of
the double elimination tournament, it forces them to go to Sonora
tonight for a 7 p.m. game to avoid elimination -- the first of five
games over the next five days Pecos needs to win in order to take the
"We play in Sonora tomorrow night, and when we win, we'll be back home
on Thursday," coach Abel Dominguez guaranteed following the game.
Carrasco's homer was the second of the night off Montoya. He connected
on a grand slam in the second inning which gave Crane a 7-0 lead at the
But overall, Montoya was actually the most effective pitcher in the game
for either team Tuesday. He had beaten Ozona on June 30 in Pecos'
tournament opener by an 11-1 score, but started this game sitting on the
bench, while Luis Salgado went to the mound.
Salgado lasted just one inning plus two batters in the second. Crane got
three runs in the first, on a walk a Michel Cavazos double, a Hollywood
Garcia single and a Manuel Rodriguez triple, and Salgado left after
giving up a Chicho Garcia single and a walk to Joseph Heredia in the
Montoya came on a strike out Luther Davenport on three pitches, but then
hit Cavazos, and fell behind Carrasco in the count 2-1 when he sent one
over the fence in center.
Down by seven, Pecos got an unearned run in their half of the inning,
when David Rodriguez walked and scored when Cavazos threw Jason Payne's
grounder past first base. But they squandered a chance in the third off
Chicho Garcia, when Joe Robert Lara was picked off second and Jaime
Herrera was caught stealing after opening the inning with a double and
"We lost it on our mental play. We just made too many mental mistakes,"
Crane coach Sam Rodriguez replaced Chicho Garcia with Lino Garcia in the
fourth, and his control problems over the next three innings helped
Pecos come back.
He walked Payne then wild pitched him to second, before Montoya hit a
3-0 pitch to right field for an RBI single in the fourth. He then scored
on Herrera's two-out hit to center, after a throwing error by Corey
Aguilar kept the inning alive.
Montoya would pick three runners off first base in the game, but the
lefthander also saw three runs score due to communications problems
between him and first baseman Joshua Casillas.
Casillas lost track of Lino Garcia on third base in the fifth inning,
after Montoya picked Aguilar off first, allowing him to score while
Aguilar was being run down for the final out of the inning. Then with
two out and runners on first and second in the seventh Montoya tried to
pick off Carrasco, but Casillas was off the bag and the throw went down
the line in right. Cavazos scored, and Carrasco came in when Rodriguez
blooped a hit into short right field moments later.
Before then, Pecos had cut the lead to 10-5 in the sixth, off walks to
Lara and Herrera, a Casillas sacrifice fly a wild pitch and a passed
ball by Carrasco.
Down by five in their last at bat, Pecos again used Lino Garcia's
control problems to get a rally started.
He walked Ivan Guebara, then hit Ruben Carrasco before Payne hit a slow
roller to second. He beat the throw, and pinch runner Frankie Alvarez
scored when Ricky Heredia threw the ball past first. Montoya then popped
out, but Alvarez threw low to first of Gilbert Fierro's grounder to
short, as Carrasco scored.
Lara then doubled to left field, scoring two more runs and making it
10-9, which brought Manuel Rodriguez into pitch. But he would walk
Herrera and Casillas on nine pitches, before Salgado delivered a
game-tying sacrifice fly to left.
However, that would be the final run of the night for the Senior
Leaguers. Manuel Rodriguez got David Rodriguez on a foul out, then
survived a lead-off single by Joey Garcia in the eighth and a lead-off
double in the ninth by Casillas that just missed clearing the
right-center field fence.
Davenport pulled in a line drive by David Rodriguez after that, and
Manuel Rodriguez fanned Salgado and got Payne on a pop up to second to
end the game.
Casillas' shot was really the only hard hit for Pecos all night, which
Dominguez said, "was like that first game with the slow (Ozona) pitcher.
The kids can't get their timing down right. All the hits we got were on
Although he took the loss, Montoya wound up with 14 strikeouts while
allowing eight hits and six runs (three earned) in nine innings of work.
He's ineligible to pitch tonight against Sonora, which stayed alive with
a victory Monday over Alpine. Pecos figures to pitch Payne, who got the win in relief last Wednesday over Big Lake.
Playing on the home field of Pecos' District 4-4A high school rivals,
Richard Rodriguez won his second tournament game in as many starts,
tossing a three-hitter while striking out 11.
Rodriguez blanked San Angelo Northern in Pecos last Thursday, 13-0,
allowing no walks in five innings of work. However on Tuesday, coach
John Salcido said, "He struggled a little bit with their strike zone,
but he came back in the seventh inning and just shut them down."
Walks helped San Angelo score twice in the sixth to cut Pecos' lead to
4-3, before Rodriguez got Warren Dade to pop up, got Fred Dietz on a
ground out, and struck out Greg Sercos to clinch the victory in the
"There were some strike calls down there that really made Richard work,
but he came through in the seventh," said manager Mark Barrera.
Singles by David Meline in the second and fourth innings got Pecos'
scoring started. He stole second and scored on a throwing error in the
second, and came home in the fourth on Capi Magana's RBI single off
Dietz, who took the loss.
Rodriguez scored Pecos' third run, doubling in the fifth and scoring on
Chris Natividad's single after Lake View cut the lead to 2-1 in the
bottom of the fourth. The eventual winning run was scored in the sixth
by pinch runner Jeffrey Saenz on a passed ball, after pinch hitter Omar
Muniz drew a walk off Dietz.
"Their pitcher threw decently, but the wind was blowing in hard and
that hurt us," Salcido said. "We were hitting the ball, but with the
wind blowing in some balls that should have been over their heads were
The win allows Pecos to rest up for the tournament finals, at home
Saturday, probably at 4 p.m. The Junior Leaguers will face either Lake
View or the winner of tonight's San Angelo Western-San Angelo Southern game. The winner plays Lake View on Thursday.
On Tuesday night, it was time for Alomar's turn to go full tilt.
Showing a Cleveland catcher could deliver an All-Star hit as well as
absorb one, Alomar sprinted the whole way after connecting for a two-run
homer that gave the AL a 3-1 victory and stopped its three-game losing
``I was flying around the bases. I don't think I've ever run so fast
around the bases,'' said Alomar, who takes a 30-game hitting streak into
the second half.
On a night full of treats for the sellout crowd of 44,916 at Jacobs
Field -- the fans got to boo Albert Belle and laugh at the Larry
Walker-Randy Johnson matchup -- Alomar's tiebreaking shot in the seventh
inning was the topper.
The AL cut its deficit in 40-27-1. Edgar Martinez and Javy Lopez also
homered as every run scored on a long ball; the same could be true next
summer when the game moves to Coors Field in Denver.
Alomar backed out of the home run derby a day earlier, saying he wasn't
a power hitter. But his drive over the left-field wall off San
Francisco's Shawn Estes made Alomar the first player to hit an All-Star
homer in his home park since Hank Aaron at Atlanta in 1972, and the
first ever to win the MVP award in his own stadium.
``Well, I kept his hitting streak alive for him,'' Estes said. ``I
wouldn't have picked anybody to hit a home run off of me, but I'm happy
for him that he did it. It's a great time for him, playing at home, the
hitting streak, and the fans obviously love him.''
Estes walked Bernie Williams with one out and Alomar homered one out
Before Alomar's drive, Indians catchers were known for only one thing in
All-Star play. It was 1970 when Rose ran over Fosse to score the winning
run in the 12th inning at Riverfront Stadium.
``I remember seeing the play with Pete Rose,'' Alomar said. ``That's
kind of a difficult play to swallow for a catcher.''
Alomar and his brother, All-Star second baseman Roberto, had pinned
black ribbons to each other's jersey sleeve in memory of their
grandmother, Tonee Valazquez, who died last week at age 96. She was
buried in Puerto Rico on Monday.
``I know my grandmother is in a better place,'' Sandy Alomar said.
``This game was dedicated to her. The rest of the season will be
dedicated to her.''
Chances are, the rest of the season will not provide anything as
entertaining as the Walker-Johnson duel in the second inning.
Walker, who leads the majors in batting at .398 and the NL with 25
homers, hooked up with Johnson, baseball's most overpowering pitcher, in
their much-anticipated lefty vs. lefty meeting.
Last month, Walker sat out an interleague game when his Colorado Rockies
took on Johnson and the Seattle Mariners, but there was no ducking him
Johnson, in a scene reminiscent of his 1993 All-Star duel with John
Kruk, threw the first pitch way over Walker's head -- it was far less
than 100 mph and nowhere near the danger zone -- and hit the backstop on
Walker, laughing, turned his helmet around, moved to the other batter's
box and took a pitch for a ball right-handed.
Walker then went back to batting left-handed, and drew a walk.
``He had fun with it, and so did I, and I think the fans did, too,''
``It was kind of humid out there. The ball just slipped out of my
hand,'' he grinned. ``Hopefully, things will be different the next time
I face him.''
That could be Aug. 28 when interleague play resumes. Among the games
that night is Seattle at Colorado, possibly providing a rematch of the
former Montreal minor league teammates.
``It was a fun at-bat. It all worked out. I'm just glad it's over,''
said Walker, who last batted right-handed in instructional ball in 1989.
``He and I have been great friends for years. I'm looking forward to he
and his wife coming to Denver so we can take them out to dinner.''
Kansas City's Jose Rosado wound up the winner despite giving up a tying
home run to Lopez in the seventh. Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees
pitched a perfect ninth for a save, finishing a combined three-hitter
for eight AL pitchers.
Every position player selected for the game got to play except Belle,
and that seemed fine by him.
Belle was heckled non-stop when his Chicago White Sox visited the Jake
in early June, and the former Indians star responded with an obscene
gesture. Belle, who skipped Monday's workouts, was booed during pregame
By late in the game, Belle was gone from the dugout, safely out of sight
inside the locker room.
``After what happened to Albert the last time he was here, and what
happened on the third base line before the game -- he didn't choose not
to play. He said he'd be uncomfortable playing,'' AL manager Joe Torre
Mac McKinnon, Publisher
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