Puerto Rico runs away with victory
Club beats champions for second victory, ending Series on high note
MEXICALI, Mexico -- There were no real losers Saturday afternoon at Estadio Casas GEO.
Puerto Rico's Leones de Ponce cruised past Venezuela's Tigres de Aragua, 9-1, for their second victory of the week in the final game of the Caribbean Series for both teams.
"We were able to accomplish a lot of self respect with these two wins," Puerto Rico manager Eduardo Perez said. "We started this thing 0-4, and a lot of people were really disappointed."
Neither team left the field disappointed.
The Tigres (5-1) clinched the 2009 title with a 5-3 win against Mexico on Friday night, and will return to Venezuela on Sunday as champions. The 2010 Caribbean Series is scheduled for next February on the Venezuelan island of Margarita.
In his first start of the series Monday, Venezuela's Brad Knox no-hit the Dominican Republic over 6 1/3 innings. On Saturday, he gave up singles to three of the first four batters he faced, including a drive to right field by Jesus Feliciano to start the game.
Knox did not allow a run in the first and retired the side in order in the second inning. He would not be as fortunate in the third.
Puerto Rico catcher Eli Marrero led off the third with a single. Eight batters later, he would make the second out of the same frame. In between, Puerto Rico tallied seven runs and tagged Knox with five singles, a triple by Fernando Cortez and a three-run home run by Jorge Padilla for a 7-0 advantage.
Marrero popped out in his second at-bat of the inning, but Knox would not face another hitter, yielding to Andrew Lorraine. Leones shortstop Luis Figueroa and first baseman Andy Gonzalez continued the rally by driving in a run apiece to give Puerto Rico a comfortable 9-0 lead after 2 1/2 innings.
Knox was charged with the loss after allowing eight runs on 11 hits over 2 2/3 innings.
Venezuela scored its first run of the game in the fourth inning, when center fielder Selwyn Langaigne scored on a single up the middle by first baseman Ramon Castro.
"I really thought coming in here that we were the team to beat because of our talent, offense and we have great pitching," Perez said. "These guys played their hearts out every day, and I think we were only a couple of hits away from being 5-1 in this series."
Jesse Sanchez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.