Mexico 4, Venezuela 0
By Eric Edwards
February 2, 2005
2005 CARIBBEAN WORLD SERIES
Francisco Campos handcuffed a toothless Aragua Tigers attack and Vinnie Castilla scored a run and drove in two more in Mexico's 4-0 victory over the Venezuelan league champions Tuesday night in what turned out to be the Caribbean Series opener in Mazatlan, Mexico.
Campos allowed just three hits over eight innings and struck out 10.
Aragua was clearly not the powerhouse it had been in Venezuela when Miguel Cabrera (Marlins) was camped in the middle of the batting order. The Tigers had tried to add Bob Abreu as a reinforcement from the vanquished Caracas Leones, but both players decided to sit out the six-game round-robin tournament and rest for spring training.
The Mexicans had no such power outage in the middle of their order.
Batting third, Castilla reached second base in the opening inning on a throwing error and scored on a bloop single by cleanup hitter Erubiel Durazo. The second time through the batting order the Mexican attack was more assertive against Aragua starter Horacio Estrada.
Heber Gomez and Trenidad Hubbard opened the third inning with consecutive singles, and Miguel Flores loaded the bases when Estrada hesitated while fielded his sacrifice bunt and threw late to first base.
Castilla then lined a single into the hole between first and second base, plating two runs. Derrick White added a run-scoring fielder's choice later in the inning.
Mexico has won just three Caribbean Series titles since joining the competition in 1970, never on its home turf. It will face Puerto Rico in the late game Wednesday night. Venezuela plays the Dominicans in the early game.
Earlier in the day the game between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic was rescheduled for Friday afternoon when the Dominicans failed to arrive at the game on time.
The pilot of their charter flight, which was supposed to leave Santo Domingo Monday night, ordered the team off the plane and returned with just the crew to Miami after players and team officials grew unruly trying to determine which members of the delegation should board the overbooked flight. The team was forced to book another charter flight that departed at noon Tuesday and arrived in Mazatlan two hours after their game with Puerto Rican League champion Mayaguez was supposed to have begun.