Santiago 7, Pinar del Rio, 5
HAVANA (AP) _ Antonio Pacheco hit a pinch-hit grand slam in the eighth inning Sunday, giving Santiago a 7-5 victory over Pinar del Rio and its third straight Cuban championship.
Santiago, which beat Pinar del Rio in the championship series for the second straight season, won the best-of-seven series 4-1.
Pacheco, a veteran second-baseman on Cuba’s national team, had missed two straight games due to a bad back. He was called on to pinch-hit when Orestes Kindelan singled and Ariel Cutino and Gabriel Pierre walked, loading the bases in the eighth inning.
Pacheco homered over the right-center field wall, unleashing drum-beating pandemonium at Santiago’s Guillermon Moncada Stadium.
Pinar del Rio starter Jose Contreras and Pedro Luis Lazo, two of Cuba’s top pitchers, struggled with their control. Contreras, who shut out Santiago on Monday for Pinar’s only win in the series, and Lazo limited Santiago to six hits, but walked nine.
Danny Betancourt, Santiago’s 19-year-old starter, allowed six hits and three runs in 1 2-3 innings and was replaced by Osmel Cintra.
Cintra pitched into the ninth, scattering nine hits, before giving way to Norge Luis Vera, who got the final three outs and the save.