PUERTO RICO – There was no better way to start baseball in February than what took place Wednesday afternoon at Isidoro García Stadium in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico where Mexico (Obregon Yaquis) and the Dominican Republic (Anzoategui Caribes) squared off.
Dominican Republic 3, Mexico 4
The Dominican Republic slowly built up a lead with a run in the 3rd inning and 2 more in the sixth. Using a couple singles and a throwing error by Mexico third baseman Agustin Murillo, the Dominican was able to jump out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the 3rd. In the 6th, the Dominican again used an error by third baseman Agustin Murillo, this time a fielding error, to go with 2 RBI singles from Ruddy Yan and Alberto Rosario to extend their lead to 3-0.
Meanwhile, Dominican starter Raul Valdes kept the Mexico lineup in check until the 7th. Valdes pitched well going 6.1 innings giving up 2 runs (1 earned) on 3 hits while striking out 5.
Held scoreless for the first 6 innings, Mexico finally got on the board in the 7th. Agustin Murillo led off the inning with a single, and after a fly out was moved to 3rd base on a Doug Clark hit. Jose Diaz came in to relieve Valdes and promptly got a ground out for the 2nd out of the inning. But he couldn’t get out of the inning. Carlos Valencia hit an infield single that third baseman Victor Mercedes threw away allowing both runners on to score.
Where the excitement really came was in the bottom of the 9th. Trailing 3-2, Mexico would mount a comeback. After 2 quick outs, Carlos Valencia singled to left and was run for by Leonardo Heras. Heras quickly stole 2nd base putting the tying run in scoring position. That was quickly followed by a Barbaro Canizares single to tie the game at 3. Then the play of the game happened. With Canizares at 1st base, Oscar Robles hits a long fly ball to right field that looks like it might either clear the fence or be over the fielders head easily scoring the winning run. Nobody told right fielder Ricardo Nanita though. Nanita made a great game saving catch as he crashed into the outfield fence. This catch saved the game for the Dominican and sent it into extra innings.
Neither team could find the big hit needed to put the game away, until the bottom of the 15th. Again with 2 outs, Gabriel Gutierrez singles to left to get things started for Mexico. Doug Clark followed with his 2nd hit of the game to put Gutierrez at 2nd base. Iker Franco followed with the game winning hit down the right field line just out of the reach of Nanita. Nanita almost made another spectacular game saving catch but he came up just inches short.
It was Johnny All Staff for both teams as Mexico trotted out 11 pitchers and the Dominican Republic 8. Marco Carrillo got the last out of the 14th to pick up the victory for Mexico as Jose Rosario went 3.2 innings in relief giving up the 1 run to take the loss.
Game 2 is tonight as Venezuela and Puerto Rico square off. ESPN Deportes and ESPN3.com are both showing games.
2011 Caribbean Series Schedule:
- Wednesday, February 2
- Dominican Republic 3, Mexico 4
- Venezuela vs. Puerto Rico
- Thursday, February 3
- Venezuela vs. Dominican Republic
- Puerto Rico vs. Mexico
- Friday, February 4
- Mexico vs. Venezuela
- Dominican Republic vs. Puerto Rico
- Saturday, February 5
- Mexico vs. Dominican Republic
- Puerto Rico vs. Venezuela
- Sunday, February 6
- Dominican Republic vs. Venezuela
- Mexico vs. Puerto Rico
- Monday, February 7
- Venezuela vs. Mexico
- Puerto Rico vs. Dominican Republic
2011 Caribbean Series Standings:
Eric Bynum is Managing Editor here at BaseballdeWorld. He spent three years as an ESL teacher in South Korea, and is now working on his master's degree in history with a focus on baseball and WWII. He has played and/or written about baseball for the past 30 years and is an avid Atlanta Braves fan.