Venezuela tops Puerto Rico; Dominicans beat Mexico

2/7/2006 - MLB

VALENCIA, Venezuela -- Venezuela moved one step closer Monday night to its first Caribbean World Series title since 1989, beating Puerto Rico 5-1 to remain undefeated.

On Tuesday, Venezuela (5-0) will face the Dominican Republic with a chance to clinch the championship outright. Geremi Gonzalez will start for Venezuela, and Juan Cruz will take the mound for the Dominican Republic.

If the Dominicans win, there will be a one-game playoff Wednesday at 5 p.m. in Maracay to decide the title.

Earlier Monday in Maracay, the Dominicans defeated Mexico 3-1, improving their record to 4-1 in the round-robin tournament.

For the second straight day, the Caracas Lions (Venezuela) got a strong starting pitching performance, this time from Wilfredo Rodriguez, whose only mistake in 5 1/3 innings was a solo home run to Ruben Gotay of the Carolina Giants (Puerto Rico).

Rafael Alvarez hit a two-run home run for Venezuela, and Henry Blanco drove in two more for the Lions.

Rodriguez was the winning pitcher for Venezuela, and William Collazo took the loss for Puerto Rico (1-4).

In the Dominicans' victory over Mexico, Baltimore Orioles pitcher Daniel Cabrera, battling the flu, gave up only one run and two hits for the Licey Tigers.

Behind 1-0 in the top of the sixth inning, the Dominicans scored two runs off Mexican starter Walter Silva on a run-scoring single by Erick Aybar and an RBI double by Alexis Gomez.

The Dominicans added an insurance run in the eighth on a run-scoring double by Chicago White Sox outfielder Timo Perez.

Atlanta Braves pitcher Jorge Sosa got the last three outs to record the save. Cabrera was the winning pitcher for the Dominicans, while Silva took the loss.

The Dominicans, whose only loss in the tournament came against Venezuela on Saturday, generated and won tiebreakers against Puerto Rico in 1999 and 2003.