HAVANA TIMES – Cuba obtained its second win without a loss by defeating the Puerto Rican team 6-1 on Friday evening in the week long Caribbean Series tournament being held in Culiacan, Mexico. Puerto Rico has lost all three of its matches thus far.
Los Alazanes de Granma (representing Cuba), who had a rest day on Thursday, easily outperformed the Criollos de Caguas of PR who now face possible elimination.
After defeating the Dominican Republic team in its first game, Cuba, after the win over Puerto Rico, has now emerged as the main rival to Mexico, the home team and also the Caribbean Series defending champion.
Denis Laza scored the first run of the afternoon for Cuba thanks to an RBI single from Carlos Benitez in the second inning. For a short while the Puerto Ricans pulled even 1-1 in the top of the third on a two-out RBI single from Eddie Rosario.
But Cuba responded with three runs in the bottom of the inning to take a 4-1 lead, thanks to an RBI double by William Saavedra, another run driven in by DH Alfredo Despaigne on a single and a sacrifice fly by Benitez.
The Puerto Ricans could not recover. Between the fourth and the sixth there was no scoring. It was in the seventh inning that Saavedra hit a home run that gave the Cubans two more runs for the final 6-1.
The winning pitcher was starter Vladimir Garcia who went six innings with two strikeouts and allowing the only run of Puerto Rico. Left-hander Liván Monelo came in to pitch the seven and eight innings without complications and Miguel Lahera did the same in the ninth.
On Saturday, Cuba (2-0) will play against the Aguilas de Zulia of Venezuela (1-1), who lost 5-1 to Mexico on Friday. Puerto Rico (0-3) will face the Dominican Republic (0-2). Mexico (3-0) is free on Saturday.
Once all the teams have played each other, the top four will qualify for the semi-finals to play on Monday. The winners of each match will play on Tuesday a final to decide the champion of the Caribbean Series.