Caribbean Series 2017: Venezuela’s relief pitching holds it together in one run win 4-3 over Puerto Rico

February 3, 2017


zimbio file photo: Puerto Rico catcher Yadier Molina put the tag on as he and the Puerto Rico Cagua Creoles battled and lost in the World Baseball Classic to Venezuela on Thursday

Venezuela 4, Puerto Rico 3


By Lewis Rubman

Culiacan, Sinlaloa, Mexico–An eigth inning rally wasn’t enough for the Caguas Creoles, Rico’s entry in the Caribbean Series, to overcome Venezuela’s Zulia Eagles’ early dominance of the third game of this year’s tournament.

The Eagles jumped into the lead in the top of the second inning, when Alex Romero followed Rene Reyes’s single to deep right center field with a fly ball to center that Puerto Rico’s Eddie Rosario mangled into a two base error that plated Reyes. Jesus Flores was up next, and he socked a homer to left to give Zulia a 3-0 advantage.

Caguas came back in their half of the inning with two out singles by David Vidal, Henry Ramos, and Ivan de Jesus, Jr., cutting Venezuela’s lead to 3-1

The Zulianos tacked on another tally in the top of the following frame on Flores’s double and an error by shortstop de Jesus off a ball hit by Ronny Cedeno.

The problems caused by Puerto Rico´s slovenly fielding were compounded by bad base running. With one out and Rene Garcia on first in the bottom of the seventh, Rey Navarro hit what looked like a double to right, only to be tagged out when he overslid second base. That left Garcia to be stranded on third when Randy Ruiz struck out.

Puerto Rico´s eighth inning last hurrah came when reliever Pedro Rodriguez waliked Ruben Gotay and Vidal blasted a home run to left.

Omar Bencomo started for the Eagles and got the win, He threw 85 pitches in five innings, giving up one run, earned, gave up four hits and two walks. He struck out six.Tiago da Silva followed Bencomo and threw 13 pitches in his spotless inning of work. Pedro Rodriguez struck out one batter in his nine-pitch inning of work. Leonel Campos threw 27 pitches in his one inning stint, allowing two runs, both earned, one hit, and one walk. He struct out two. Hassan Pena got the save, throwing nine pitches in one inning and giving up a walk.

Puerto Rico’s pitching parade was led by Adalberto Flores, who was charged with the loss, throwing 53 pitches in his four innings of work. He gave up four runs, two of which were earned, and five hits. Like the Venezuelans, all of Puerto Rico’s relievers pitched an inning apiece. None allowed any runs, so that’s a bright spot for team going into its third game with an 0-2 record.

Mexico takes on the Dominican Republic in tonight’s game. Both teams won their first game. Right hander Hector Velasquez is scheduled to start for Mexico, which will play as the visiting team. The Dominicans will counter with right handed Cesar Valdez.





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