Cuba and Mexico win in 1st round of Caribbean Series
MEXICO CITY (AP) Chris Roberson hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning and Mexico defeated Puerto Rico 4-2 on Wednesday night in the first round of the Caribbean Series.
In the opening game, Cuba blanked the Dominican Republic 4-0 behind starting pitcher Lazaro Blanco.
Roberson's homer capped a three-run rally in the seventh for Aguilas de Mexicali. Daniel Rodriguez allowed one hit in six scoreless innings before Derrick Loop got the win in relief. Jake Sanchez earned a save.
Fernando Cabrera took the loss for the Criollos de Cagua from Puerto Rico.
''I'm satisfied with the performance. Daniel Rodriguez gave us a great start and we know that we have good relievers,'' Mexico manager Roberto Vizcarra said. ''Fortunately, Roberson (homered) in the seventh and we were able to give these fans a victory.''
Blanco pitched into the seventh inning and Roel Santos had two RBIs for Alazanes de Granma from Cuba.
The 29-year-old Blanco, the ace of the Alazanes staff, allowed five hits over 6 1/3 innings with six strikeouts for Cuba, looking for its second Caribbean championship in three years.
''I was focused on doing a great job. It was important to start off this Series with a win,'' Blanco said. ''Things went really well for us. I'm very happy to get the win.''
Santos went 2 for 4 with a triple in the first inning and a double during a three-run fifth.
Ivan Pineyro took the loss for the Tigres de Licey from the Dominican Republic. He gave up four runs in 4 1/3 innings.
The Dominican Republic will face Mexico on Thursday, and Cuba will play Puerto Rico on Friday.