<
>

Caribbean Series: Puerto Rico tops Mexico in 9th

VALENCIA, Venezuela -- Puerto Rico finally got on the victory board in the Caribbean Series, but it came at the expense of Mexico, which fell to 0-3 in the round-robin tournament in Venezuela.

A run-scoring single by Victor Rodriguez in the top of the ninth inning was the difference for the Carolina Giants (P.R.) against the Mazatlan Deer (Mexico), who saw their dream of a second straight Caribbean Series go down the tubes.

Once again Mexican pitching was pounded; in this year's series; the team has given up 37 runs in just three games so far.

Puerto Rico took a 4-1 lead in the second inning on a three-run home run by Luis Figueroa and a sacrifice fly from Ruben Gotay against former major league pitcher Ariel Prieto.

Mexico eventually came back to take the lead 6-5, but could not hold on, as the back and forth contest moved to the ninth inning tied 9-9 before Rodriguez's decisive hit.

Ivan Maldonado picked up the win in relief for Puerto Rico, while Jose Luis Garcia took the loss for Mexico.

Puerto Rico, which stayed alive with its victory over Mexico, will take on the Dominican Republic on Sunday, and Mexico will take on host Venezuela in the day's second game.