SANTIAGO, D.R.–The chants were deafening. And Aguilas fans tried not to hear them, steaming toward the exit after Miguel Tejada, who was ice cold after homering twice in the opener, flew out to left field with two runners on in the eighth.
Licey tacked two runs an already substantial lead, and cruised to an 8-2 win over the home team.
This for a club who decided to fire its manager (Tim Tolman) and pitching coach (Mark Brewer) after the Tigres went down 3-0 to Aguilas in the Dominican League finals. New manager Hector De La Cruz has only been on the job a few weeks, but now he has a Caribbean Series trophy as the club celebrates its history–this is Licey’s 100th anniversary.
"Management decided to make a change and . . . that’s all I can say about that," Licey catcher Matt Tupman (Royals) said. "They just won the Caribbean Series, so they obviously felt like they were doing the right thing."
Rockies righthander Jose Capellan started for Licey, but was ineffective, walking five in three innings and allowing both Aguilas’ runs on a two-run blast by Rafael Furcal. Ramon Ortiz was brilliant again in relief for Licey, this time pitching five shutout innings.
"He’s been lights out the whole time," De La Cruz said. "I don’t know who the MVP is, but he was our MVP."
Licey totaled 15 hits as Emilio Bonifacio, Erick Aybar, Juan Francisco, Nelson Cruz, Ronnie Belliard and Tupman each collected two hits apiece.
Aguilas righthander Alfredo Simon (Rangers) was rocked early, allowing four runs on six hits over just 3 1/3 innings.
This Caribbean Series victory marked the 10th time in Licey’s 100-year existence that they’ve won it all. A fact not lost on the lone gringo on the team, Tupman, who just finished up his first season of winter ball and batted .364 in the Series.
"This is such a great rivalry, period," he said. "They killed us, just killed us in the playoffs. So to be able to come through here and win this championship, it’s special. It’s been a crazy winter, but it was worth it. I’ve never experienced anything like this at all. It just kind of hit me that in two days I have to leave for spring training. That was the furthest thing from my mind five minutes ago."