Today’s Caribbean Series is set after yesterday’s semifinals in Culiacan, Mexico.
The semifinals started with a Puerto Rico upset win over Venezuela, 9-6. The two teams combined for 27 hits.
Venezuela made a game of it by scoring four runs in the bottom of the eighth. They also had the bases loaded and no outs in the bottom of the ninth with the best part of their order up (9-1-2). However, they were unable to score as Ali Castillo struck out (2-for-5 with three strikeouts), Freddy Galvis flied out (1-for-6), and Ronny Cedeno (2-for-6 with two RBIs and three strikeouts) struck out to end the game.
Venezuela struck out 11 times, five times in the first two innings against Puerto Rican starter Orlando Roman (Mexico). In the win, he allowed a run on seven hits and three walks over five innings. He struck out seven.
Puerto Rico scored four runs right out of the gate off Venezuelan starter (and free agent) Mitch Lively, who lasted just 2/3 of an inning. A Rusney Castillo (Boston) single drove in the first run and a bases loaded walk drove in the second. After a sac fly and an RBI single, Lively was pulled.
After a scoreless 2nd inning, Puerto Rico went on to score runs in the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth innings.
In the second game, host Mexico got revenge on Cuba, winning 1-0 (after losing to Cuba the night before).
Three Mexican pitchers combined on the two-hit shutout. Starter Miguel Pena (Mexico) scattered the two hits over five innings. He walked one and struck out four. Daniel Rodriguez (Mexico) followed with three perfect innings of relief while striking out five.
In the ninth, Oakland farmhand Jake Sanchez worked around a one out walk (by winning a challenge on the field for a force out) and got a strikeout to end the game.
Mexico scored their lone run in the fifth, which started with a leadoff walk. Sebastian Valle (Seattle) followed with a bunt single, with the runner moving to third base on an error. Agustin Murillo (Mexico) followed with an RBI single.
Tonight, Puerto Rico and Mexico will meet to decide the Caribbean Series champion.