By Eric Edwards
February 4, 2005
2005 CARIBBEAN WORLD SERIES
Mexico 7, Dominican Republic 1
The host team has turned this Caribbean Series on its head.
Behind eight strong innings from former Devil Rays farmhand Pablo Ortega, Mexican champion Mazatlan pounded an error-prone Dominican team, 7-1, Thursday night to improve to a perfect 3-0 in the six-game round robin tournament.
The Dominicans, who have won six of the last eight competitions, are now winless in two tries, leaving Mexico and Venezuela, usually the also-rans, atop the standings.
Venezuela, which hasn't won this tournament since 1987, held off Puerto Rico 6-5 in the early game Thursday to improve to 2-1.
Mexico has won just four Series titles since joining the fray in 1970, never on its home soil. Its last title came in 2002.
Ortega pitched eight strong innings, holding Dominican champion Aguilas to just five hits and a run. He escaped bases-loaded jams in the third and sixth innings.
Mazatlan scored three runs in the opening inning on just one hit, aided by two Dominican errors and the wildness of Dominican starter Julian Tavarez (Cardinals).
Tavarez hit Trenidad Hubbard with a pitch to open the game and Flores plated him with a double. Errors by shortstop Rafael Furcal (Braves) and third baseman Ronnie Belliard (Indians) allowed two more runs to score.
The Dominicans scored their lone run in the top of the first. Furcal led of the game with a triple down the right-field line and scored on an infield ground ball by Luis Polonia.
Mexico added two more runs in the fifth on another run-scoring double by Miguel Flores and an RBI single by Vinny Castilla (Nationals). Another Furcal error allowed Mexico's sixth run to score, and Jonny Gomes (Devil Rays) finished the scoring with a solo home run in the seventh, his second of the Series.
Tavarez yielded five runs on three hits and three walks over four innings to get the loss.
Venezuela 6, Puerto Rico 5
Rene Reyes (Rockies) had four hits, including a second-inning home run, and Puerto Rico stranded 17 baserunners–eight over the final three innings–as Venezuela held on for a 6-5 victory Thursday night at the Caribbean Series in Mazatlan, Mexico.
Puerto Rico left the bases loaded in the seventh and eighth innings and put its first two runners on board in the ninth, but couldn't plate the tying run.
Venezuela improved its record in the six-game round robin tournament to 2-1 and faces unbeaten Mexico (3-0) today in a battle for first place.
The loss was yet another in what has become a long line of disappointments for Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico is now winless in two tries and has lost 10 straight Caribbean Series games dating back to its 2003 collapse, when Mayaguez won its first five games before losing its last two–and the title–to the Dominican Republic.
Reyes singled and scored as part of a five-hit, three-run first inning, added a solo home run in the second and an RBI single in the fourth. Mayaguez starter Omar Olivares picked up just two outs before being knocked out of the game.
Venezuela stretched its lead to 6-2 in the fourth inning by combing three hits, a costly throwing error on a pickoff attempt by catcher Ramon Castro (Mets) and a wild pitch by lefthander Jonathan Sanchez (Giants).
After scoring twice in the seventh on RBI singles by Alex Cintron (4-for-6, 2 runs, 1 RBI) and Lou Lucca (3-for-5, 2 RBI), Puerto Rico loaded the bases with one out, but Venezuelan reliever Denny Medina (Twins) struck out Raul Gonzalez (Cardinals) and Julius Matos (Blue Jays) to end that threat.
An inning later, Puerto Rico scored another run on an RBI single by Lucca before loading the bases again off of Francisco Butto (Phillies), who nearly blew a huge lead in the ninth inning Wednesday in Venezuela's 7-5 victory over the Dominican Republic. But Butto struck out Matos to end the inning.
Puerto Rico threatened again in the ninth, putting its first two runners on base, but Butto struck out Luis Figueroa (Brewers), got Cintron (Diamondbacks) to pop out and struck out Boi Rodriguez to end the game.
Medina, who struck out five over two innings of work in relief of starter Juan Carlos Pulido (Twins), got the win.
Olivares, who hadn't pitched since the semifinal series in Puerto Rico in mid-January, took the loss.