Early runs make the difference for the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 7, MEXICO 6 (HOME TEAM: DOMINICAN REPUBLIC)
Mexico: Luis Alfonzo Garcia was 2-for-4 with two doubles, scoring once and driving in three. Daryle Ward was 2-for-3 with a walk and a double, scoring twice. Zelous Wheeler (Yankees) was 2-for-4 with a home run, his third.
Dominican Republic: Francisco Peguero (Baltimore) was 2-for-3 with a walk and a double, scoring twice and driving in one. Eugenio Velez (Milwaukee) was 2-for-3 with two home runs, driving in three. Claudio Vargas struck out six in six shutout innings, allowing two hits and one walk.
The game: Julio Lugo singled in a run in the second to put the Dominican Republic ahead 1-0. They seemingly took control of the game with a four-run third, highlighted by a Velez two-run homer, leading 5-0 at that point. Velez homered again in the sixth to make it 6-0. Mexico got back into the game in the seventh, getting an RBI double by Garcia and a two-run homer by Sebastian Valle (Philadelphia) to cut the lead to 6-3, but in the bottom of the seventh, Emilio Bonifacio (Kansas City) singled, stole second, and scored on a Perez single to make it 7-3. Mexico struck for three more in the eighth as Wheeler homered and Garcia delivered a two-run double. That put the tying run on second with one out, but a strikeout and a ground out ended the inning. Mexico went down in order in the ninth.
PUERTO RICO 5, VENEZUELA 4 (HOME TEAM: PUERTO RICO)
Twins: Eddie Rosario (Puerto Rico) was 1-for-4 with a run. Kennys Vargas (Puerto RIco) was 1-for-2 with an RBI. Daniel Ortiz (Puerto Rico) was 0-for-0 with a walk.
Venezuela: Alberto Callaspo (Oakland) was 3-for-5 with a three-run homer. Mario Lisson (San Francisco) was 1-for-1 with a walk and a run.
Puerto Rico: Randy Ruiz was 3-for-4 with a double, scoring once and driving in one. Osvaldo Martinez (Dodgers) was 1-for-3 with a walk and a home run. Jonathan Albaladejo pitched four innings, allowing an unearned run on two hits and two walks with three strikeouts.
The game: In the bottom of the first, Rosario singled and scored on a double by Ruiz to put Puerto Rico in the lead 1-0. Venezuela tied it in the fourth on a single, a walk, and an error. In the bottom of the fourth, Puerto Rico got an RBI single by Luis Figueroa, a run-scoring double by Martin Maldonado (Milwaukee), and a sacrifice fly to go ahead 4-1. Martinez homered in the fifth to make it 5-1. In the seventh, Venezuela got back into it. With two out and none on, Lisson singled, Ezequiel Carrera (Detroit) singled, and Callaspo hit a three-run homer to cut the lead to 5-4. That was as close as they could get, however, as Venezuela never got the tying run past first base.
FINAL SERIES STANDINGS
Dominican Republic, 2-2
Puerto Rico, 2-2
Cuba is eliminated from the Caribbean Series. The remaining four teams go into a single-elimination playoff. The Dominican Republic plays Mexico tonight and Puerto Rico plays Venezuela Friday night, with the winners meeting Saturday night.