Curses? Puerto Rico doesn't believe

MARACAY, Venezuela -- After losing their 14th game out of the last 15 in the Caribbean Series, players from Puerto Rico on Thursday rejected the possibility of a "curse."

The Carolina Giants from Puerto Rico could not hold the lead in the eighth inning and failed to deliver the winning hit, allowing the Licey Tigers from Dominican Republic to take the victory 5-4 in the 11th inning in the Caribbean Series opener.

"I don't think God has bad plans for anybody. Our rivals just played better than us, that's all," said Alex Cora.

"It was a good game, even though both teams played badly in the beginning," Cora added. Cora went 4-for-6 and scored once, leading an offense that produced 12 hits, but could not overpower their traditional opponents.

"We played great, but someone has to lose," said manager Lino Diaz.

"We'll keep our heads up. I don't believe in curses or anything like that. We can still win the Series," Diaz added.

Puerto Rico lost six games in the 2004 Series in Santo Domingo and went 1-5 in Mazatlan last year. Moreover, they lost their last two contest in 2003.

Puerto Rico is second to the Dominican Republic in titles -- 15 to 14 -- but has not won the Series since 2000.

On Friday, Mexico and the Dominican Republic will face each other at Jose Bernardo Perez Stadium in Valencia, and the Giants will play the Caracas Lions from Venezuela at Jose Perez Colmenares Park in Maracay.