By Eric Edwards
February 4, 2005
2005 CARIBBEAN WORLD SERIES
Venezuela 5, Mexico 4
Venezuela pulled into a first place tie in the Caribbean Series Friday night, edging Mexico 5-4 in front of another full house in Mazatlan, Mexico.
Alex Cabrera’s three-run home run in the seventh inning proved the difference for a Venezuelan team that has now won three straight after getting shut out in its opener.
Also Friday, the Dominican Republic all but ended Mayaguez’ hopes, sending the Puerto Rican League champion to its third straight defeat, 8-3 in the six-game round robin competition. Puerto Rico, which had a down year talent-wise in its financially-strapped winter league, has now lost 11 straight Series games dating back to 2003.
The win gives the Dominicans (1-2), winners of six of the last eight competitions, momentum headed into Saturday’s matchup with Venezuela, which has not won a Series title since 1987. Mexico (3-1) takes on Puerto Rico.
Mexico got on the board first Friday night, scoring a run in the opening inning for the third time in four games on a single by Trenidad Hubbard, an error and a sacrifice fly by Vinny Castilla.
Venezuela took the lead in the second inning on a RBI singles by Alex Romero and Gabriel Torres, but Mexico used the long ball to get it back. A solo shot by Derrick White in the fourth inning tied the game and Hubbard’s solo homer in the fifth gave Mexico a 3-2 edge.
That ended in the seventh inning when Mexican reliever David Cortes, who came on after rookie Juan Jose Pacho gave up consecutive singles to put runners on the corners, served up Cabrera’s blast.
Mexico pulled within one in the seventh inning on a run-scoring fielder’s choice by Miguel Flores, but Elio Serrano came onto shut down the Mexican attack the rest of the way for the save.
Dominican Republic 8 Puerto Rico 3
Puerto Rico continued to unravel, committing four errors in an 8-3 loss to the Dominican Republic.
The defeat leaves Puerto Rico with a 0-3 record. The Dominican Republic is now 1-2 and back in the fight with games against Venezuela and Mexico still remaining.
Two of the Dominicans first three runs against Puerto Rico Friday were unearned. The Dominicans scored their first run in the third inning. A walk to Ronnie Belliard and a single by Alberto Castillo put runners on the corners and Pirates prospect Jonathan Albaladejo muffed a sacrifice bunt attempt by Bernie Castro, loading the bases. Rafael Furcal plated the run with a fielder’s choice ground ball.
Another Albaladejo error led to Pedro Feliz’ RBI single in the fourth inning, and first baseman Orlando Merced’s miscue in the fifth allowed Castro and Furcal to score for a 4-0 lead.
A two-run home run by Furcal in the sixth made it 6-0 and Castillo added another two-run shot in the seventh to close the scoring for the Dominicans.
Puerto Rico scored its runs in the ninth inning on a two-run triple by Andres Torres and an RBI ground out by Luis Figueroa.
Doug Linton shut down Mayaguez on four hits over seven shutout innings to get the win. Albaladejo, who was 3-0, 0.45 for Mayaguez in the Puerto Rico championship series, took the loss.