02/04/2004 6:52 PM ET
P.R. eliminated by Venezuela
Aragua beats Ponce, 7-6, on Rios home run
By Doug Miller / MLB.com
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- Puerto Rico didn't bring its best team to Santo Domingo, and it showed Wednesday evening -- for the fourth straight game.
|Venezuela's Luis Ordaz (right) is congratulated after hitting a hree-run home run in the fifth inning Wednesday. (Andres Leighton/AP)
The champion Ponce Lions of the Puerto Rican league made a valiant attempt to stay alive in Caribbean Series by hanging with Venezuela for much of the game, but a two-homer game by Eduardo Rios helped Venezuela to a 7-6 win and knocked Puerto Rico out of contention for the title.
Ponce fell to 0-4 in the six-day round-robin tournament, while Venezuela stayed alive by improving to 2-2.
Each team (Puerto Rico, Mexico, Venezuela and the Dominicans) plays each 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.
Things were looking good for Ponce early on, when they built a 3-0 lead through two innings.
Carlos Rivera hit a solo homer off Venezuela starter Tim Harikala in the first, and two batters later, a Luis Lopez single and two errors by Puerto Rico made it 2-0.
The Venezuelans added a run in the bottom of the second on Gabby Martinez's RBI single.
That lead held until the top of the fifth, when Venezuela's big bats made noise for the first time in the game off Puerto Rico starter Chris Enuch.
Rios and Gabriel Torres singled in succession, and two batters later, Luis Ordaz hit a three-run home run to left field.
The sixth inning featured a flurry of scoring.
Rios' first homer of the night, a two-run shot off reliever Jose Alberro, gave the Venezuelans a 5-3 lead in the top of the sixth.
Raul Gonzalez's two-run shot and Carlos Baerga's RBI single capped a three-run outburst for Puerto Rico in the bottom of the frame, giving Ponce a 6-5 lead.
Venezuela wasn't done, though.
Still batting against Alberro in the eighth, Miguel Cabrera got things started with a laser of a line drive to the right-field corner that resulted in a triple.
After Robert Perez's fielder's choice tied the game at 6-6, Rios put the exclamation point on an epic day, slamming an Alberro offering over the wall in left for the 7-6 lead.
Anaheim Angels reliever Francisco Rodriguez pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for the save.
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.