02/02/2004 11:52 PM ET
Dominicans dominate Puerto Rico
Home team wins, 5-0, unbeaten in Caribbean Series
By Doug Miller / MLB.com
Caribbean Series Gallery: Day 2
|Jose Jimenez scattered three hits over six innings while striking out six batters. (Andres Leighton/AP)
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- The Licey Tigers of the Dominican Republic entered the 34th Caribbean Series as heavy favorites, and Monday night they showed why.
Licey, featuring a lineup stacked with big-league stars, took control from the outset against Puerto Rico's Ponce Lions and rode a brilliant pitching performance by starter Jose Jimenez to blank Ponce, 5-0, in Estadio Quisqueya.
The game started in the rain and ended after six innings when umpires called the game after an hour-long delay, but a win's a win.
"It was raining when we started the game, which is a bit risky considering you have guys like (Major League All-Stars Miguel) Tejada, (Rafael) Furcal and (David) Ortiz," said Dominican manager Manny Acta. "I think calling it when they called it was the right thing to do."
So was starting Jimenez.
The Cleveland Indians pitcher encountered little trouble with the Puerto Rican lineup, scattering three hits over the six innings while striking out six batters.
"That's what we expected from Jimenez," Acta said. "He's been dominant this year here and I knew he would perform."
Catcher Brandon Marsters said command of his pitches was -- and always is -- the key to Jimenez's success.
"Tonight his ball was sinking good, just like it always does," Marsters said. "If that's going well, he's tough, especially when he has a good change and slider, like he did tonight."
With the win, the Dominicans became the only 2-0 team in the Series. Puerto Rico fell to 0-2 and to fourth and last place in the six-day round-robin tournament.
Mexico's Culiacan Tomato Growers beat Venezuela's Aragua Tigers in the early game Monday, leaving both teams tied for second at 1-1.
Each team plays one other twice over the course of six days, and the team with the best record at the end wins. The Dominicans beat Puerto Rico for the title last year.
Licey didn't waste much time getting on the board Monday.
Leadoff man Luis Castillo slapped a single to left off Puerto Rico starter Dicky Gonzalez before Furcal drove in the first run of the night with a triple over the head of Ponce center fielder Hiram Bocachica.
The Dominicans made it 3-0 with two runs in the top of the fourth when Castillo singled in a run and Tejada was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
Jimenez got insurance in the top of the sixth when the Tigers loaded the bases off reliever Bryan Ward.
Furcal singled and Ward hit two straight batters -- Tejada and Ortiz. That set up Jose Offerman for a two-run single. Offerman has five RBIs in the first two games of the Series.
Overall, Acta said he was happy with the way his bats are coming around.
"We left some guys on base with two outs, but I can't complain," Acta said.
"They came up with the big hits when we needed them."
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.