Williams, Beltran homer in Puerto Rico's romp


Bernie Williams and Carlos Beltran homered and Puerto Rico routed Cuba 12-2 in a World Baseball Classic game Friday night that was strictly for pride, with both teams having already secured spots in the second round.

Williams, named the best player in Pool C, hit a two-run homer to right in the second before a home crowd of 19,000 fans.

"Most definitely this home run that I hit was very important -- it was a milestone in my career... I felt that I was playing the World Series in the month of March," Williams said.

"My mother was here and my uncle was here, as well, watching me
lay, and they had not watched me play for a very long time," he

Beltran hit a towering three-run homer right over the foul pole
in right field and Alex Cintron also had a two-run shot for Puerto

Cuba walked eight hitters, allowed 10 hits and let the game wrap
up early. The mercy rule went into effect and play was called after
seven innings.

"We lost the battle but not the war. The war begins Sunday,"
said manager Higinio Velez.

It's just the second time Cuba has lost a game by the mercy
rule. The other was against Taiwan in 1983.

"That means that Cuba is a great team because if not it would
have lost many times under the mercy rule. But that's only happened
twice," Velez said. "Our second-line pitchers did not come
through and we couldn't use our best pitchers today. That was the
fundamental cause of our defeat."

Puerto Rico starter Dickie Gonzalez pitched four innings and
gave up two hits and one unearned run for the win.

Puerto Rico's Jose Santiago was ejected from the game in the
seventh inning for hitting Juan Carlos Moreno with a pitch on the
back. Manager Jose Oquendo was also ejected. Both benches had
received warnings from the home plate umpire.

Puerto Rico opens the second round against Venezuela and the
Dominican Republic plays Cuba on Sunday in San Juan.

Tournament organizers said that approximately 75,000 fans
attended the six-game series between the Netherlands, Puerto Rico,
Cuba and Panama.