Maza powers Venezuela

Updated: February 3, 2009, 12:50 AM ET
Associated Press

MEXICALI, Mexico -- Brad Knox pitched hitless ball into the seventh inning, Luis Maza drove in the decisive run in the ninth and Venezuela's Aragua Tigers beat the Dominican Republic's Licey Tigers 3-2 on Monday in the first game of the Caribbean Series.

Knox did not allow a hit but was lifted with one out in the seventh after issuing his fifth walk. Washington Nationals infielder Ronnie Belliard homered on the first pitch by Venezuela reliever Yohan Pinto to tie the score 2-all.

Maza, who went 4-for-5 with two RBIs, drove in Ramon Castro with the go-ahead run against reliever Victor Marte.

Knox struck out five in a no-decision. The only no-hitter in Caribbean Series history was pitched by Thomas Fine in 1952 for Havana against Cerveceria Caracas.

Mexico's Mazatlan Venados, led by San Diego Padres slugger Adrian Gonzalez, was set to face Puerto Rico's Ponce Lions in the second game of the series.

Puerto Rico plays the Dominican Republic on Tuesday, and Mexico faces Venezuela.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press