Caribbean Series 2017: Venezuela victory helps Tigers stay in tie for fourth after one run victory over Dominicans

February 8, 2017

MLB

Venezuela 4, Dominican Republic 3

February 5, 2017

By Lewis Rubman

Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico–The Licey Tigers, the Dominican Republic’s representative to this year’s Caribbean Series, needed to defeat Venezuela’s Zulia Tigers, to salvage a tie with Puerto Rico for fourth place in the five team touranment. They came within four outs. of doing it. Of course, the achievement would have been only symbolic because, under the Series’ tie breaking rules, head to head performance determines which team gets the sole posession of the place in the standings that would have been shared based on winning percentage alone, and, in spite of what I groggily reported at the end of my article on yesterday afternoon’s game between the Dominican and Puerto Rico, the Puerto Ricans’ victory left them with a record of 1-3, and the Dominicans with one of 0-4.

The Tigers, playing as visitors, took the lead in the top of the fourth inning. Ronny Rodriguez and Mel Rojas, Jr. singled off starter Raul Rivero. Rodriguez then scored on Alfredo Marte’s single, and, Rojas, who had gotten was far as third, extended his trip to score on the Eagles center fielder Herlis Rodriguez’s throwing error.

First baseman Jose Castillo led off the bottom of the fifth with a homer to right off Ariel Pena, who had started the game for the Tigers. Pena finished up the inning withoiut allowing any further serious damage, but he didn’t come out for the sixth, when Warren Madrigal faced him on the mound.

Meanwhile, Yordan Bazardo replaced Rivero as Venezuela’s pitcher after Ron Cedeno’s error had allowed Ronny Rodriguez to reach first base and Zoilo Almonte’s single had advanced him to second. Bazardo stopped the Tigers’ threat, not quite in its tracks, because Rodriguez stole third before the inning ended. The unearned run was charged to Rivero.

Bazardo held the Venezuelans scoreless through the seventh. His replacement, Juan Grullon, entered to start the eighth protecting a 3-1 lead. He retired two of the first three batters out on a grounder to second and a fly to right, but between those two outs Herlis Rodriguez reached first on a scratch single to short. Cedeno then atoned for his earlier error by driving in Rodriguez with a stand up double to left. He scored moments later on Rene Reyes’s two run, game winning homer to left centerfield.

Brazilian right hander Tiago da Silva, who pitched a scoreless eigth for the Eagles, was credited with the win. Caribbean Series veteran and a re-enforcement from the Aragua Tigers of the Venezuelan League, got the save. The loss went to Grullon.

Mexico currently leads the pack at 3-0. If the Mexicali Eagles can beat Cuba’s Granma Sorrel Horses in tonight’s game, they will face Puerto Rico in Monday’s semi-finals. If the Cubans pull off a victory, there will be a three way tie between the Mexico, Cuba, and Venezuela. We’ll have to wait until Los Aguillas de Mexicali and Los Alazanes de Granma finish their game before we know who does what to whom.

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