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02/05/2006 Archived Entry: "VIVA BEISBOL: Caribbean Series Day 3"


Mazatlan batter sets record in 10-9 loss to Puerto Rico

VALENCIA, VENEZUELA – Edgar Gonzalez set a Caribbean Series record with his eighth straight hit Saturday, but later committed a fielding miscue that allowed the winning run to score in the top of the ninth inning as the Mazatlan Venados lost a 10-9 heartbreaker to the Carolina Gigantes of Puerto Rico in front of 13,215 witnesses in Valencia. The loss was the third in as many Caribbean Series games for the Mexican Pacific League champs (and reigning CS titlists), whose pitchers have now allowed 37 runs and 46 hits in 26 innings.

Gonzalez, who finished Friday night’s game against Licey with four straight hits (including a pair of homers), rapped out safeties his first four times up against the Giants for a total of eight consecutive hits, beating the old CS record of seven by Puerto Rican Roberto Alomar in 1995. It was a great offensive performance for the Venados, who put together 18 hits. Playing his first game in the Series, Luis Alfonso Cruz had a super game with four hits of his own, including two homers (one of them a monster blast), five RBI’s and three runs scored. Trenidad Hubbard and Oscar Robles each had two hits for Mazatlan, but it came down to a grounder to second base to finally put the Venados away.

With the score tied at 9-9 in the top of the ninth, Deer reliever Jose Luis Garcia gave up singles to Luis Figueroa and Edward Guzman before giving way to Ignacio Flores. Pinch-runner Jesus Feliciano replaced Figueroa at second as Victor Rodriguez strode to the plate for the Gigantes. Flores induced Rodriguez into hitting a double-play grounder to Gonzalez, who tagged second to retire Guzman, but made an errant throw that eluded Noe Munoz at first to allow Feliciano to scamper all the way home with the go-ahead run. Carolina reliever Ivan Maldonado had a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the ninth to ice the win for the Puerto Ricans.

Maldonado pitched scoreless ball over the final three frames, allowing one hit and whiffing four Mexican batters to earn the victory. Garcia took the loss, but his was not the only rocky outing for the Venados. Starter Ariel Prieto was roughed up for ten hits and seven runs in 5.2 innings, but left with the score tied at 6-6. The Carolina offense was paced by Figueroa, Guzman and Rodriguez, who combined for eleven hits, three homers and seven ribbies.

In the other Caribbean Series contest in Saturday’s twinbill, shortstop Alex Gonzalez rocked a three-run homer off Roman Colon in the top of the ninth to give Venezuela’s Caracas Leones a come-from-behind 11-9 win over the Licey Tigres of the Dominican Republic. Gonzalez, who was just signed as a free agent by the Boston Red Sox, had three hits for the Lions, as did Henry Blanco. Francisco Rodriguez pitched a scoreless ninth to preserve the win for Caracas over the Tigres, who got three hits from first baseman Jose Offerman.

The Venados will play Caracas Sunday night in Maracaibo at 8PM (7PM ET). The Leones trounced Mazatlan 17-1 in the CS opener Thursday night in Valencia. For more information on Mexican baseball, go to www.VivaBeisbol.Net.

3-0 Caracas Leones (VZ)
2-1 Licey Tigres (DR)
1-2 Carolina Gigantes (PR)
0-3 Mazatlan Venados (MX)

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