What they didn’t want, they got, as Jose Canseco and Co. ripped them bad Sunday night, dropping the Roadrunners into a tie for first. The 15-6 loss to the Laredo Broncos means that Edinburg headed to the Panhandle for a vital series with the Amarillo Dillas starting Tuesday, dead even with Amarillo.
There were seven games left in the season after Sunday, with the final three for the ‘Runners coming over the weekend at home against the WhiteWings. This is it, people.
The weekend was exciting for the Roadrunners, with former big leaguer Canseco now playing for Laredo; crowds were big and energized. The home side dropped a game Friday night to Laredo and fell into a first-place tie with advancing Amarillo. The lead was to swing back and forth in the breeze by the day.
Faced with the prospect of losing their hold on the top spot for the first time since the initial week of the ULB campaign, they then got a big win Saturday night, 7-4 behind Wardell Starling. With an Amarillo loss, it was again a one-game lead; that’s the way it’s been for weeks as the pennant race is in full swing.
Game One against Laredo Thursday went to the Broncos, 6-3, as Tim Haines (4-10) continued to struggle with his control. Laredo blasted the ‘Runners 17-5 Friday night behind an 18-hit attack which knocked out righty Jose Pablo Oyervidez after six innings.
Prior to that, it had been a solid week for the Valley guys. In their quest to hang onto first, the ‘Runners had multiple heroes in a 3-1 road trip to San Angelo. After dropping the first game Aug. 15, they got a solid start from veteran Eric Montoya, who won his ninth of the year, 7-5. Then they got a record-tying three home runs from Wilson Batista and a season-best five taters as a team in an 11-4 triumph Aug. 17. Wilmer Pino, who has been on fire since he returned to the lineup after a leg injury, had three hits that night after a 5-for-5 showing at San Angelo Aug. 15.
Wednesday it was Aaron Guerra in the spotlight with a rare starting appearance. Guerra got the win as Edinburg took out the Colts, 10-5 with Pino (.330) getting three more hits and two steals to raise his total to 38 for 2010.
Though the charge slowed with a 6-3 loss to pesky Laredo Thursday, the team played in front of a season-high 5,635 fans, showing that the locals have at long last taken the franchise back to heart after a few years of middling attendance. Edinburg clung to a 1-game lead after the loss, with a week to go in the regular season.
The big buzz over the weekend was for the arrival of former Major League star Canseco, now playing for the Broncos. The well-traveled and controversial slugger hit 462 home runs in the big leagues and stole 200 bases from 1985-2001 with seven teams, winning an MVP award, playing in four World Series, and becoming the first player to hit 40 homers and steal 40 bases in a season (1988).
Later, the right-handed Cuba native was among the first to blow the whistle on the Steroid Era in his 2005 book, “Juiced.”
NOTES: Playoff tickets are now on sale. If the Roadrunners finish in either first or second place, they would open the playoffs with a best-of-three first round series on the road with one game on Tuesday, Aug. 31 against the No. 3 or No. 4 seed. Edinburg finishing in one of the top two spots will garner them home-field advantage for game two and, if necessary, game three of the first round on Wednesday, Sept. 1 and Thursday, Sept. 2.
Should Edinburg survive the first round, they would play the winner of the other series in a best-of-five format for the ULB Championship. If the Roadrunners are the lower seed, they will open the championship round with games one and two at Edinburg Baseball Stadium on Friday. Sept. 3 and Saturday, Sept. 4. If the Roadrunners are the higher seed, they would play game three and, if necessary, games four and five at home on Sunday, Sept. 5, Monday, Sept. 6, and Tuesday, Sept. 7.