UPDATE: The DR beat Mexico, 3-1, today. The Dominican team is now 4-1 for the series. Mexico is 0-5.
Venezuela is now 4-0 in the Caribbean Series. Last night’s game was a thriller. Mexico made a dramatic ninth inning comeback to tie, but failed to push across the one additional run it needed to win its first game of the tournament. Venezuela handed the ball to Francisco Rodriguez in the ninth. Some of his breaking balls were terrific, and he struck out three. And yes, these are the Mexican hitters, who have not exactly been fearsome in this series, but Frankie’s slider was working, and showed why he is known as “K-Rod.” However, he also gave up a single to major-league journeyman Trenidad Hubbard and then a game-tying homer by Juan Canizalez.
Venezuela went on to win in the 10th on a single by Alex Cabrera, who I assume is the same Alex Cabrera who once played for the Diamondbacks before breaking his leg, and then later went on to hit 55 home runs in a season in Japan. Those 55 homers tied the single-season record held by the legandary Sadaharu Oh (who, by the way, will manage Japan’s WBC team next month). He might have broken the record, but as with Randy Bass and Tuffy Rhodes before him, Japanese pitchers stopped pitching to him.
Anyway, these games are fun for the mix of oldtime journeymen (e.g. Hubbard, Alex Cora), young up-and-comers (like Franklin Gutierrez, whom the Dodgers traded for Milton Bradley) and current major-leaguers that you see, and for the festive atmosphere at the games.
I do not know who Juan Canizales is, but he sure got hold of that hanging K-Rod slider.
Tomorrow’s evening game will be one to watch, as it will pit the top two teams and probably determine the championship.* If the two teams are tied after Tuesday’s game, they will play again to decide it all on Wednesday.
*An error here in the original post has been corrected.