By Carlos Torres
HERMOSILLO, Mexico--Luis Mendoza (Royals) pitched 7.1 scoreless innings, and former major leaguer Marlon Byrd had three RBI to help Mexico's Yaquis de Ciudad Obregón defeat Puerto Rico's Criollos de Caguas 10-0 and clinch a spot in the final game of the 2013 Caribbean Series.
At 3-3, Mexico finished second in the round-robin and faces the Dominican Republic in Thursday's championship game, sending big league veteran Rodrigo Lopez to the mound. The game begins at 7 p.m. Mountain time as Mexico goes for its first Caribbean Series title since 2009, when the Yaquis also won it all.
Well we all know the expression "Mendoza Line". This time we can use it for Puerto Rico's Criollos, a team that couldn't score a single run against Mendoza, who gave up only five hits in 13.1 innings in two starts against them.
Mendoza keeps a no-no till the bottom of the eighth inning when Twins farmhand Daniel Ortiz got a hit to break the spell. He gave up another single by veteran minor leaguer Jose Feliciano.
The Veracruz-born player was replaced by former major league Dennis Reyes, and the 16,000-plus crowd at Estadio Sonora gave a standing ovation to Mendoza, who struck out nine and gave up four bases on balls. Sixty-seven of his 113 pitches were strikes.
The Mexican league veteran José Cobos finished the job.
Mexico staked Mendoza to an early lead. Cuban émigré Barbaro Canizares hit a two-run homer in the second, scoring Byrd, and Karim Garcia made it 3-0 when he doubled, advanced on a bunt and scored on an error.
The Yaquis secures the game in the top of the sixth with a five-run rally. Major league veterans Alfredo Amezaga and Douglas Clark reached base by a walk and a single off Criollos starter Kelvin Villa, who was replaced for Zack Segovia (Tigers). Byrd's fourth double of the series greeted Segovia and brought home two runs.
After two outs Segovia intentionally walked Oscar Robles to face Iker Franco (Tigres de Quintana Roo, Mexican League). Segovia was replaced for Robert Bryson (Indians), who gave up Franco's single in the hole between third and short that scored Byrd and Garcia. Chris Roberson walked to load the bases again, and Robles scored on a Bryson's wild pitch.
Mexico added two more runs in the top of the ninth.
Villa lost the game for Puerto Rico, after 5.0 innings, with five hits, six runs (five earned.
Criollos de Caguas says goodbye to the Series after a 2-4 record. Mexico (3-3) will face Dominican Republic in the "final" game at 7:00 PM, for the Mexican club major league veteran Rodrigo Lopez will take the mound, the Dominican has does not announced their starter.
Dominican Republic 4, Venezuela 2
Mets farmhand Francisco Pena smacked a two-run home run in the top of the ninth, breaking a 2-2 tie as the Dominican Republic's Leones del Escogido defeated and eliminated Venezuela's Navegantes de Magallanes from the 2013 Caribbean Series.
The D.R. already had clinched a spot in Thursday's title game.
In the top of the ninth, Venezuelan relief pitcher Víctor Moreno, who pitches for Bologna in the Italian Baseball League and Delfines del Carmen in Mexico, left the game with an injury. Linares greeted reliever Marcos Tabata with a long fly ball over the left-field fence, scoring Jordany Valdespín (Mets).
Julio Lugo, who announced he will retire after this Caribbean Series, hits a solo home run to tie the slate for Dominican in the top of the fourth.
Rangers farmhand Carlos Pimentel started the game for Dominican; he gave up one run and two hits in 4.0 innings; veteran righty Lorenzo Barcelo (Dodgers) worked in three innings, with two hits and one run allowed.
Astros farmhand Sergio Perez pitched 5.2 innings, allowing one run and one walk and striking out five for Venezuela.