Saturday’s slate of Caribbean Series games started with two teams vying for their first victory and trying to stay alive in the series. Puerto Rico improved to 1-3 in their final game before Monday’s semifinals with a 10-2 victory over the Dominican Republic.
Puerto Rico scored in five innings, collecting 11 hits, while the DR scored both of their runs in the fifth and only collected five hits.
Puerto Rico got on the board in the bottom of the first on a Rusney Castillo (Boston) two out, two-run home run (2-for-5 with three RBIs). Ivan Dejesus Jr (Arizona) continues to be a tough out in the Caribbean Series, as he went 3-for-4 with a double, two RBIs, and three runs scored (he’s hitting .692). David Vidal (Miami) followed Dejesus Jr in the order and also went 3-for-4.
Former KC Royal Ruben Gotay went 0-for-3 with two walks and a run scored for Puerto Rico.
Former Texas Ranger Engel Beltre had two of the DR’s five hits. He also walked and scored a run. Zoilo Almonte (Mexico) drove in both runs with two outs on a single off Puerto Rican reliever Andres Santiago.
In the nightcap, Venezuela beat Cuba, 8-3. The two teams combined for 25 hits. Both teams are now 2-1 and tied for second place heading into the final day.
Venezuela scored three runs in the bottom of the first, but Cuba came back to tie the game in the second. Venezuela took the lead for good in the fourth.
Every batter for Venezuela had at least one hit. Eight of those hits came from the top three in the order. Leadoff man Freddy Galvis (Philadelphia) went 3-for-4 with a double, a walk, two RBIs, and two runs scored. Galvis also stole his third base. Ronny Cedeno (Mexico) went 3-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored. Right fielder Rene Reyes (Mexico) went 2-for-4 with a walk and a run scored.
Veteran Wil Ledezma earned the victory for Venezuela, as he escaped a jam in the fifth by inducing an inning ending double play. He did allow three hits in the seventh, but got back-to-back strikeouts with the bases loaded to end the inning (2.2IP, 3H, 0R, 0BB, 3K).
For Cuba, Roel Santos, William Saavedra, and Carlos Benitez each had two hits in the loss. Benitez drove in all three runs in the top of the second on a homer.
Today is the final day before tomorrow’s semifinals in the Caribbean Series. The 0-3 Dominicans face 2-1 Venezuela during the day, while host Mexico (3-0) faces 2-1 Cuba at night.