Ortiz hits third HR of tournament as Dominicans roll


SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- On a day when opponents of Fidel
Castro caused turmoil in and above the stands, David Ortiz powered
the Dominican Republic to a key victory over Cuba.

Ortiz hit his third home run of the tournament and walked with
the bases loaded in a 7-3 victory Monday that kept alive the
Dominicans' hopes of advancing to the World Baseball Classic

A group of fans caused a scuffle at Hiram Bithorn Stadium,
spelling "Abajo Fidel [Down With Fidel]" with the letters on
their shirts.

The fans also had a small sign with the same message about the
Cuban president, as did an airplane pulling a sign over that
appeared over the ballpark.

Tournament organizers banned signs with political messages to
comply with an agreement made with Cuba for the team's
participation in the Classic.

Other spectators chanted "Fuera! [Take them out!]" and
security guards took the sign away and asked the fans with the
anti-Castro message to change shirts or leave the ballpark. The
anti-Castro fans wore two shirts to hide the letters when they
entered the stadium, and they put their second shirts back on after
an inning-long confrontation in the fifth.

During last Thursday's game between Cuba and the Netherlands, a
spectator behind home plate raised a sign saying: "Down with
Fidel." Angel Iglesias, vice president of Cuba's National
Institute of Sports, rushed to confront the man. Puerto Rican
police intervened and took Iglesias to a police station and
lectured him about free speech.

After Venezuela beat the Dominican Republic 6-0 on Monday night,
all the teams in Group Two have 1-1 records. Venezuela plays the
Dominican Republic on Tuesday night and Cuba meets Puerto Rico on
Wednesday. The winners will advance to the semifinals.

"I think we could play a lot better than what we played,"
Dominican manager Manny Acta said. "I think we should have scored
at least 12 runs."

The Dominican Republic led 7-0 after six innings in this one,
then coasted. Starter Odalis Perez (2-0) struck out three in 4 2/3
scoreless innings, allowing three hits and one walk.

Winning "was very important because I understand if we would
have lost today, we would have gone home tomorrow ... if we can go
back out tomorrow and we can score at least eight or nine runs, we
might go to the final," Perez said.

Miguel Tejada hit a go-ahead, two-run double in a four-run
third, chasing starter Vicyohandry Odelin (0-1). Yadier Pedroso
relieved, walked Albert Pujols, then retired Ortiz on a flyout as
Tejada moved to third.

Moises Alou followed with a grounder to third that should have
ended the inning, but Michel Enriquez threw wildly to first as
Tejada and Pujols scored for a 4-0 lead.

An error by first baseman Ariel Borrero on Placido Polanco's
grounder allowed another run to score in the fourth, and Ortiz hit
a no-doubt homer off Yonder Martinez in the fifth, flipping his bat
as soon as he finished his followthrough. Norberto Gonzalez
relieved with the bases loaded in the sixth and walked Ortiz on a
3-1 pitch.

"All I tried to do was make the routine plays and get on base
for the big guys," Polanco said.

Yuliesky Gourriel homered in the seventh off Jorge Sosa. After
Cuba scored twice in the ninth on right fielder Juan Encarnacion's
error and Alexei Ramirez's RBI single, Fernando Rodney relieved
with two on and one out.

He struck out Eduardo Paret, loaded the bases with a walk to
Enriquez, then struck out Joan Pedroso on a checked swing.