| Detroit Free Press
Detroit Tigers’ George Lombard reflects on mother ahead of Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Tigers bench coach George Lombard’s mother, Posy, was a civil rights activist alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Her son shares story, Jan. 17, 2021.
Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press
To hoist the trophy, his team had to get through two other Tigers pitchers from Gigantes del Cibao: right-hander Jose Cisnero and lefty Miguel Del Pozo. The series went to Game 7 on Monday, and Águilas Cibaeñas secured a 7-4 victory.
Last week: Isaac Paredes gets a second chance in Mexico
Controlling a five-run lead, 7-2, Águilas Cibaeñas sent Soto to the mound for the bottom of the seventh and eighth innings. Although he walked Abiatal Avelino, he struck out Jose Siri on three pitches and got Ronald Guzman to ground into a double play. In the eighth, he allowed a home run to Kelvin Gutierrez but escaped without further damage.
Soto allowed one run on one hit and two walks in two innings, tossing two strikeouts.
It marked the team’s first Dominican Winter League title since the 2017-18 season. Águilas Cibaeñas has 22 championships, dating back to 1952. Outfielder Juan Lagares — an eight-year MLB veteran — earned series MVP.
Del Pozo, who the Tigers signed to a minor-league deal earlier this month, allowed the demise of Gigantes del Cibao. Right-hander Wily Peralta got the first out but allowed a Luis Juarez home run and walked Francisco Pena. That’s when Del Pozo entered, trailing 3-2 with one out in the seventh inning.
His second pitch was driven by Johan Camargo for a double, and an ensuing intentional walk to Juan Carlos Perez loaded the bases. Jonathan Villar, the next batter, drove in two runs with a double, and Ramon Torres gave Águilas Cibaeñas another run with a single for a 6-2 lead.
Without recording an out, Del Pozo was removed. The left-hander gave up two earned runs on three hits and one walk. Cisnero pitched the top of the ninth for Gigantes del Cibao, firing a scoreless inning with one strikeout.
Soto, 25, completed his winter league assignment with 11 games. He pitched five innings in the regular season (3.60 ERA), three in the semifinals (3.00 ERA) and four in the finals (2.25 ERA). He combined for 10 strikeouts and six walks.
Cisnero had a 5.40 ERA in four regular-season games (3⅓ innings). In the playoffs, he was nearly perfect — without any hits but one walk — in four games and four innings. The 31-year-old totaled four strikeouts and four walks.
When the Tigers signed Del Pozo on Jan. 7, he was dominant through the regular season and semifinals, pitching 10⅓ scoreless innings. However, the 28-year-old gave up four runs in two innings across three relief appearances in the championship series. Altogether, Del Pozo logged 17 strikeouts and five walks.
Paredes nears championship series
Paredes, 21, is gearing up for Game 6 of the semifinals, scheduled for 8 p.m. Tuesday. His team has a 3-2 lead over Sultanes de Monterrey. If Paredes wins, he will face either Tomateros de Culiacán (3-2) or Yaquis de Obregón (2-3) in the championship series.
In the first-round, where Paredes was eliminated with Mazatlán, he was 5-for-22 (.227) with four RBIs, three walks and one strikeout. But for Hermosillo, his hometown team, he resembles his regular-season form: 7-for-19 (.368) with one home run, three RBIs, two walks and zero strikeouts in the semifinals. He is riding a five-game hitting streak.