Villar has 3 hits, Aguilas advances in Serie de las Americas
MIAMI (AP) Jonathan Villar got three hits and drove in two runs as Aguilas Cibaenas defeated Tigres de Licey 4-2 Saturday night in the inaugural Serie de las Americas.
The first-ever meeting of Dominican Winter League teams off Dominican soil was played at Marlins Park.
Villar was traded from the Houston Astros to Milwaukee this week. The 24-year-old infielder/outfielder hit .284 in 53 games during the season, then stole a base and scored a run in Houston's win at Yankee Stadium in the AL wild-card game.
Jose Adames pitched five shutout innings for the win.
The two-day tournament matches a pair of Dominican and Venezuelan teams against each other before having them cross over in Sunday's games. Aguilas will now face Cardenales de Lara at night.
Aguilas won in front of a festive 12,141 fans who were dancing, sounding artificial noisemakers and waving Dominican flags.
Unlike the earlier Venezuelan game Saturday between Cardenales de Lara and Navegantes del Magallanes, the Dominican matchup did not count toward the winter league standings.
For Adames, a 22-year-old righty who pitches in the Miami Marlins farm system, it was a chance to play in the stadium in which he one day aspires to take the mound.
''I was very happy to get to pitch here,'' he said. ''I wanted to give the best that I had in this opportunity that they gave me and prove that I'm capable.''
Villar tripled home in the seventh and drove in another run in the ninth.
''It's something we're very proud of to get to play in the United States,'' he said. ''Even in an exhibition, we wanted to put on the same show we would in Santo Domingo.''
Angel Franco and Francisco Pena hit RBI singles for Aguilas, who led 3-0 in the seventh.
Tigres starter Yunesky Maya, the Cuban-born pitcher who had relatives from Miami in the stands and has pitched for the Washington Nationals, exited after 4 2/3 due to discomfort in his hand.
''I was happy to pitch in front of family and friends, but I just focused on my outing and helping the team, which is most important,'' Maya said.
Jason Rogers homered for Tigres and Emilio Bonifacio hit an RBI single to cut the Aguilas lead to 3-2 heading into the ninth.
Said Tigres manager Lino Rivera of the atmosphere: ''It really surprised me. It was quite a spectacle.''