Caribbean Series standings tight after Day 5
With only two days remaining in pool play, seven of the eight teams competing in this year's Caribbean Series are within one game of qualifying for the semifinals.
A couple of teams earned pivotal wins on Day 5 in Caracas, Venezuela, to tighten up the standings. While Mexico made a statement to improve to 4-1, three teams sit at 3-2 and three others are within striking distance at 2-3.
Here’s a recap of Monday's games:
Colombia 5, Cuba 4
Gustavo Campero hit a clutch two-run homer to help lead Colombia to a pivotal win over Cuba. The 25-year-old right fielder, who doubled and scored in the third inning, snapped a 2-2 tie with a go-ahead two-run shot in the fifth. Colombia tacked on another run later in the inning after Francisco Acuna singled, stole second, advanced to third on a throwing error and scored on Jesus Marriaga's single.
With its second straight win, Colombia improved to 3-2 in pool play. That puts the club in a three-way tie for second place -- behind Mexico -- with the Dominican Republic and Venezuela. Those four clubs would currently move on to the semifinals, though three teams -- Puerto Rico, Curaçao and Panama -- sit just one game back at 2-3 with two days of pool play remaining. Box score >
Dominican Republic 10, Panama 1
The Dominican Republic bounced back from Sunday's disappointing 3-2 extra-inning loss to Venezuela with a decisive win over Panama in a pivotal pool-play matchup. All 10 position players who appeared in the game for the Dominican Republic recorded either a hit or a run, while starter Steven Moyers tossed eight innings of one-run ball.
Panama opened the scoring in the bottom of the second, but the lead wouldn't last. Gustavo Nunez evened the score with an RBI double in the top of the third, then Yamaico Navarro put the Dominican Republic ahead for good with a two-run homer. Nunez was one of four Dominican players with a multihit game, along with Emilio Bonifácio, Mel Rojas Jr. and Kelvin Gutierrez.
Next up, the Dominican Republic (3-2) has a crucial showdown against Colombia (3-2) on Tuesday. As for Panama (2-3), it has a tough showdown against first-place Mexico (4-1) on Tuesday before wrapping up with Cuba (1-4) on Wednesday. Box score >
Puerto Rico 3, Curaçao 1
Puerto Rico jumped out to an early lead and never looked back to keep its semifinal hopes alive. With the bases loaded in the bottom of the first inning, shortstop Edwin Díaz was hit by a pitch to open the scoring. Outfielder Danny Ortiz followed with a sacrifice fly to push the lead to two, which proved to be all Puerto Rico needed.
Puerto Rico starter Hector Hernandez tossed four scoreless innings and fellow lefty Dan Wirchansky provided 3 2/3 scoreless frames in relief to help protect the lead. Both Puerto Rico and Curaçao sit at 2-3 with two games remaining in pool play. Box score >
Mexico 7, Venezuela 0
Luis Miranda tossed six scoreless innings and eight of Mexico's nine starters had at least one hit to help the club move into sole possession of first place in the group standings. Joey Terdoslavich opened the scoring with a two-run double in the second before Mexico blew it open with a four-run third. Roberto Valenzuela hit a two-run triple, then scored on Reynaldo Rodriguez's RBI single. Rodriguez then raced home on a dropped third strike that would have ended the frame.
With the win, Mexico sits alone atop the standings at 4-1. As for Venezuela, the loss drops the club into a three-way tie for second place at 3-2. Venezuela finishes pool play with a pair of crucial matchups, against Curaçao (2-3) on Tuesday and Colombia (3-2) on Wednesday. Box score >
Pool Play standings
Dominican Republic: 3-2
Puerto Rico: 2-3