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Fuenmayor, Venezuela roll in Caribbean Series

Cuba nips host Mexico in night game
MLB.com @JesseSanchezMLB

GUADALAJARA, Mexico -- The Caribbean Series continued on Saturday, with games between Venezuela and the Dominican Republic during the afternoon and a Mexico-Cuba matchup in the nightcap.

GAME 1
Led by Nationals Minor Leaguer Balbino Fuenmayor, Venezuela cruised to a 15-4 victory over the Dominican Republic at Estadio de Beisbol Charros de Jalisco.

GUADALAJARA, Mexico -- The Caribbean Series continued on Saturday, with games between Venezuela and the Dominican Republic during the afternoon and a Mexico-Cuba matchup in the nightcap.

GAME 1
Led by Nationals Minor Leaguer Balbino Fuenmayor, Venezuela cruised to a 15-4 victory over the Dominican Republic at Estadio de Beisbol Charros de Jalisco.

Venezuela racked up 20 hits in the win and have scored 19 runs in its first two Caribbean Series games. In all, six players from Venezuela had at least two hits, including three-hit games from center fielder Rafael Ortega, right fielder Rene Reyes, and left fielder Willians Astudillo. Fuenmayor collected five hits, including two home runs. Ortega and Reyes also hit home runs.

Caribbean Series scoreboard

Fuenmayor's homers accounted for Venezuela's first three runs of the game, as the club tacked on another run in the fourth for a 4-0 lead. The Dominican Republic squad could not match a Venezuela offense that scored four runs in the sixth and five in the eighth to put the game away.

It's been quite a turn of events for the Dominican Republic (0-1) in Caribbean Series play. First, the good news: A team from the Dominican Republic has won the most championships at 19, with the most recent title coming in 2012 by the Leones del Escogido. The not-so-good? Saturday's loss was the country's 11th Caribbean Series defeat in a row dating to 2015.

The Dominican Republic team will get a chance to snap the losing streak on Sunday afternoon against Puerto Rico. Venezuela will take on Mexico in the night game.

Caribbean Series info

NOTABLE PERFORMER
The afternoon belonged to Fuenmayor. The slugger finished 5-for-5 with five RBIs and three runs scored. He sports a .667 batting average after his team's first two Caribbean Series games and he has already established himself as one of the most dangerous hitters in the tournament.

PLAY OF THE GAME
The Dominican Republic scored three runs in the top of the fifth inning to cut Venezuela's lead to one run, but all hope for a victory evaporated quickly. The Baltimore Orioles' Luis Sardinas drew a walk to start the bottom half of the frame for Venezuela and he advanced to third on a double by Reyes. Fuenmayor drove them both home with a double to give his team a 6-3 lead and Venezuela never looked back.

GAME 2
Yoelqui Cespedes, the younger brother of Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, scored a go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly off the bat of third baseman Raul Gonzalez and Cuba held on for a 5-4 victory over Mexico in the Caribbean Series.

Cuba improved to 2-0 with the victory, while Mexico fell to 0-2.

Cuba second baseman Carlos Benitez hit a one-out single in the eighth inning and was replaced on the bases by Cespedes. The speedy outfielder motored to third base on a single by catcher Yulexis La Rosa and trotted home on Gonzalez's fly ball.

Mexico took the early lead on an RBI single by center fielder Rico Noel in the first inning, but Cuba answered with two runs in the third inning on a sacrifice fly by right fielder Yurisbel Graciel and double by Frederich Cepeda.

Mexico responded with three runs on four singles to pull ahead, 4-2, in the fourth. But Cuba tied the game in the seventh with a solo home run by Gonzalez and a sacrifice fly by Cepeda.

Cuba is off Sunday, and Mexico takes on Venezuela in the night game.

NOTABLE PERFORMER

Gonzalez crushed a high fastball for a home run in the seventh and lifted a fly ball in the eighth just far enough to allow Cespedes to score the eventual winning run. He finished 2-for-3.

PLAY OF THE GAME

Gonzalez's home run changed the complexion of the game. Nobody expected the ninth-place hitter to tie the game with a solo shot, but that's exactly what he did, shocking everyone but the players in the Cuban dugout.

Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook.