Caribbean Series Day Four

See also: Caribbean Series Day Three
See also: Caribbean Series Day Two
See also: Caribbean Series Day One

CAROLINA, P.R.–Some rematch.

The Dominican Republic systematically destroyed Venezuela on Monday, shutting down another offense in the process in a 7-1 win.

The Dominicans continue to sit in the driver’™s seat in the Caribbean Series with a 4-0 record, though Puerto Rico–who defeated Mexico, 4-2 in 10 innings–still is alive, and will get a second chance at the DR on Wednesday night.

“We just thank God things have gone our way and for how we’™ve been able to perform,” Dominican manager Felix Fermin said. “And for the Dominican fans here in Puerto Rico–they’™ve been our inspiration.”

Venezuela had plenty of opportunities, but none were better than in the seventh after they loaded the bases with one out. With the score, 5-1, Fermin decided to bring in the gas, and Royals righthander Leo Nunez came in firing 94-97 mph fastballs.

He eventually got Oscar Salazar on a hard slider that the Venezuelan left fielder grounded back up the middle. Shortstop Miguel Tejada ranged all the way behind the second base bag, slowed his momentum and fired to first to complete the double play.

Third baseman Tony Batista went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, Nelson Cruz went 2-for-3 and also scored a pair of runs, and center fielder Alex Fernandez went 2-for-4 with three RBIs to lead the offensive attack.

Red Sox righthander Julian Tavarez gave a solid performance, allowing a run on three hits and striking out six before exiting after 5 1/3 innings. In the sixth, Venezuela second baseman Luis Rodriguez hit a low line drive that hit Tavarez in the foot. After he was examined by trainers, Tavarez tried to throw again, but could not.

Julio De Paula, Arnaldo Munoz, Joel Peralta, Leo Nunez and Hector Almonte combined to shut down the Venezuelan offense from there.

“Our hitting has come around in the last few games, but we’™ve gotten quality pitching as well,” Fermin said. “That’™s really been the key to our success throughout the tournament. But we still have two games left, and we must continue on with the same passion, the same intensity if we want to win the Series.”

• PUERTO RICO 4, MEXICO 2 (10 innings)

Puerto Rico stayed within striking distance of the Dominican Republic with a dramatic, 4-2 win as right fielder Armando Rios drove in two runs with a single to center field in the top of the 10th inning.

With one out in the frame, Luis R. Figueroa singled to right and left fielder Hiram Bocachica followed with an infield single. Juan ‘Igor’ Gonzalez was then retired on a pop-up to Mexico first baseman Juan Canizalez in foul ground before Javier Valentin walked, setting the stage for Rios–who was hitting .636 (7-for-11) coming into the game.

For Mexico, who falls to 0-4 in the Series, designated hitter Erubiel Durazo was ejected after striking out (swinging) in the fifth; then left fielder Jon Weber was tossed after a called strike in the bottom of the 10th.

“I understand it, but in those situations you have to show control,” Mexico manager Lorenzo Bundy said. “The strike zone varied throughout the night. There have been several close calls in the Series, and not one of them has gone our way.

“But at the same time, we need to get things done. In the end, it’™s no one’™s fault but our own.”