Late-game HR by Gonzalez gives Venezuela win

2/5/2006 - MLB Alex Gonzalez Boston Red Sox + more

VALENCIA, Venezuela -- If there were ever a game that symbolized the energy and drama of the Caribbean World Series, Saturday's contest between the Dominican Republic and Venezuela was a prime example.

Alex Gonzalez Gonzalez

A three-run home run by new Red Sox shortstop Alex Gonzalez gave the Venezuela Caracas Lions a dramatic victory at home against the Dominican Republic Licey Tigers, and now the host team is in first place in the round-robin tournament with a 3-0 record.

"This homer is even more important than the one I hit for the
Marlins in the World Series," said Gonzalez, referring to his
12th-inning blast in Game 4 against the New York Yankees in 2003.
"This was for my country."

Down 9-8 entering the top of the ninth, Venezuela got two men on against Braves starter and Dominican Republic reliever Jorge Sosa. Dominican manager Rafael Landestoy then brought on Roman Colon, who gave up Gonzalez's line drive into the left field seats, giving Venezuela a 11-9 lead.

Angels closer Francisco Rodriguez got the last three outs for Venezuela to pick up the save.

Venezuela overcame deficits of 7-2, 8-7 and 9-8 to remain unbeaten in the tournament. The nation is looking for its first Caribbean Series title since 1989.

Alex Cabrera, an ex-major leaguer with Arizona and fixture in Japanese baseball in recent years, also homered for Venezuela, while Miguel Tejada and Jose Offerman went deep for the Dominican, which fell to second place in the series at 2-1.

The Dominican Republic will face Puerto Rico in Sunday's first game, while Venezuela will look to remain unbeaten in the second contest against Mexico.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.