MAZATLAN, Mexico -- Puerto Rico's Randy Ruiz hit a solo home run in the top of the 12th inning to lead Mayaguez past Venezuela, 4-3, at Estadio Teodoro Mariscal in game three of a four-game set Sunday.The win was the first for Puerto Rico (1-4) in the 2005 Caribbean Series and snaps a string of 12 consecutive Caribbean Series losses dating to 2003. Venezuela's Tigres de Aragua drop to a 3-3 in round-robin play and fall from championship contention. The Dominican Republic (2-2) must defeat Mexico (4-2) in Sunday's finale, then defeat Puerto Rico on Monday for a chance at the title. "It feels good to win, especially to break a streak of 12 or 13 games or whatever it was," Ruiz said. "Now that the streak is over, it's time to start a new streak, a winning streak."
The game almost ended one inning earlier.Tied 2-2 in extra innings, Puerto Rico's Lou Lucca hit a single up the middle that drove home Julius Matos in the top of the 11th inning to put Mayaguez ahead, 3-2. But Aragua shortstop Jose Castillo answered with a solo home run to right field in the bottom of the frame off former big league pitcher Bill Simas to tie the game at 3. Simas went on to earn the win. Tim McClaskey, who gave up the Ruiz homer, took the loss. "It does not matter who we play, we want to win," Puerto Rico manager Mako Oliveras said. "Nobody in this series is giving games away and it feels good to get this weight off our shoulders." Puerto Rico's Andres Torres led off the game with a solo home run to right field off starter Josmir Romero to give Mayaguez an early 1-0 lead. Aragua answered in the bottom half of the frame on a single by second baseman Luis Rodriguez and RBI single by first baseman Alex Cabrera to tie the game at 1. Romero struck out the side in the top of the second and his team pulled ahead, 2-1, in the bottom half of the inning on a double by Michael Sandoval that scored Gabriel Flores. In the seventh, Mayaguez's Boi Rodriguez smashed a solo home run over the bleachers and into the street beyond in right field to tie the game at 2. As for Romero and Puerto Rico starter Juan Done, they dueled for the better part of five innings and were relieved with almost identical numbers. Elio Serrano replaced Romero after the Aragua starter allowed five hits and struck out five batters in 5 2/3 innings. For his part, Done allowed five hits and struck out two batters in five innings before Lance Davis took over and threw two scoreless innings. Both teams had their scoring chances late in regulation. In the bottom of the eighth, Lee Gronkiewicz, pitching in relief of Davis, walked three batters and survived an error by his defense but still managed to pitch out of a bases-loaded jam with two outs to preserve the tie. Francisco Butto, who entered with one out in the top of the eighth for Venezuela, also pitched out of a bases-loaded situation with one out in the ninth.
Jesse Sanchez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.