The Tan Holdings Brewers evened up the Saipan Major League Baseball Association's best-of-five championship series after a 10-5 come from behind Game 2 victory over the Saipan Stevedore Company Yankees last Friday night at the Francisco “Tan Ko” Palacios Ballfield.
Clifton Silil busted a two-out double in the seventh inning to spark a four-run rally and bring the Brewers back into the game after facing a 2-5 deficit. The pennant champions then scored four insurance runs in the last two frames, while pitcher Vince Cepeda was in rhythm from the point of his arrival in the fifth inning and remained unscathed through regulation to bag a big save and help the Brewers tie the series, 1-1.
Game 3 will be played tonight at 6:30pm on Tan Ko Field.
After winning the series opener last Tuesday, 7-5, the Yankees seemed headed for a big 2-0 lead as they chiseled out a 4-0 lead in the first inning, built off the Brewers' early jitters in the infield.
Ben Jones Jr. led off the game and quickly wound up at third base off a wild throw before reaching home plate off John's Salas ground in. Then after a base hit and a walk, Robert Bansil made a booming two-RBI double that scored Chris Camacho and Gary Cruz. Bansil came in soon off another error.
During the second time through its lineup, the Brewers responded with two runs in the top of the fourth inning off a couple of errors and a sacrifice fly by Manny Sablan. The Yankees' starting pitcher Thomas Camacho recovered nicely after that and left the Brewers with runners at second and third.
Salas then got a run back in the bottom portion with a clutch double to bring TJ Agulto home for the Yankees' 5-2 advantage. Yankees starter JP Sablan finished his shift strong in the top side of the fifth inning, but their bullpen endured some serious issues late in the game.
The Yankees first reliever, Greg Camacho, made it cleanly through the sixth, but was lit up in the seventh frame after personally securing a couple of early outs.
Ton Manibusan led off the inning for the Brewers, had a walk and was escorted to the plate off Silil's double. Silil then stole third base, as Roy Celis worked a free pass and league-RBI champion Byron Kaipat cleared the bases with a well placed triple to the opposite field to make it a one run game, 4-5.
Manny Sablan stepped in next and doubled Kaipat home to nose the Brewers ahead, 6-5, before the Yankees could stop the bleeding.
Cepeda stepped to the rubber at the start of the fifth inning and stumbled a bit to close his first three outs, but finished the last four frames nicely. The Yankees first two batters touched Cepeda, but he got out of the jam with a pair stranded and it was pretty much lights out in the last four frames.
Mel Sakisat then replaced Camacho in the eighth inning, but the damage was already done as the Brewers moved in front, 9-5, off three hits.
Darren Pua led off the eighth inning with a base hit and was driven home by Manibusan, who scored soon after off an error, while Cepeda singled and made it home off a fielder's choice by Ton Guerrero. Sablan provided the 10th run in the ninth inning with a truck load of hustle. He drew a walk and stole second base before completing the circle off a wild throw to first base.
The Yankees folded 1-2-3 in the last inning.
Winning pitcher Cepeda gave up three hits and three walks with five strikeouts through five scoreless innings. Silil batted 3-for-5 with two doubles, one RBI, two runs, and a stolen base.