Mexico defeats Panama and goes to the semis in the Caribbean Series

February 2, 2022

SANTO DOMINGO (AP) — An RBI single by Esteban Quiroz was all it took for Mexico’s tight pitching to overcome a poor start in the Caribbean Series and move into the semifinals.

The Charros de Jalisco beat Panama 1-0 on Tuesday and became the fourth invited to the next phase.

The Astronautas de Santos needed the win to reach the semifinals, but they finished with a 2-3 record and joined Puerto Rico as the two teams eliminated in the first round of the tournament.

Mexico recovered after losing its first two games, supported by its pitching staff that has chained 29 consecutive innings without allowing runs, a record in the Caribbean Series.

The Charros won their last three games.

“I never lost confidence in the guys despite losing the first two games because I know the kind of team we are, the kind that I pitch we have, both starters and relievers,” manager Roberto Vizcarra said. “We haven’t won anything . Advancing to the semifinals was the first step, but the goal is to win the championship for Mexico. That’s why we come to the Caribbean Series.”

Starter Javier Solano (1-0) covered six shutout innings, throwing just two hits to win the game, and the powerful Mexican reliever retired three shutout innings, including the second save by Roberto Osuna, who pitched the ninth inning with two strikeouts.

“I knew I had to execute on every pitch, I am happy and very grateful to my teammates for the great defense they supported me with. It was the most important game for us because classification was at stake,” Solano said.

The loss went to Ernesto Silva (0-1), after allowing six hits and an unearned run in four and two-thirds innings.

The attack came in the fifth inning, when José Cardona reached base on balls after two outs, stole second base and advanced to third on a throwing error by catcher Freddy Fermín. Esteban Quiroz hit an RBI single.

“Nobody wants to lose, you always want to go out and win. A high level has been played in this Caribbean Series and we showed that we are at this level. I am very proud of my players because they kept competing,” said Panamanian driver Raúl Domínguez. “Even with the limitations we have in our league in Panama due to the lack of support from the government and private companies, we played a great role.”


Hanser Alberto hit a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the tenth inning and the Dominican Republic grounded Venezuela to close out the first round as the leader.

The hosts Gigantes del Cibao beat the Navegantes del Magallanes 8-7.

Both teams already qualified for the semifinals. The Dominican Republic, as leader, will once again face Venezuela, which qualified in fourth place. Colombia will face Mexico in the second semifinal.

The Giants took a 6-0 lead in the sixth inning. However, the Venezuelans reacted with a five-run attack in the seventh.

In the eighth inning, Willians Astudillo had an RBI hit to tie the game, and Danry Vázquez put Venezuela ahead with an RBI single. However, the hosts tied it at the bottom of the same episode with a sacrifice fly by Hanser Alberto.

It was not until the tenth chapter when the match was defined with a new sacrifice fly by Alberto.

Fernando Abad (1-0) retired a scoreless inning to earn the victory, while Danny Rondón (0-1) allowed the winning run in two-thirds of an inning.


Supported by a great opening by Luis Leroy Cruz, the Criollos de Caguas of Puerto Rico defeated the Caimanes de Barranquilla of Colombia on Tuesday 6-2, thus avoiding saying goodbye to the Caribbean Series without victories.

Puerto Rico (1-4) came into the match eliminated after losing their first four games of the tournament. Colombia, for its part, had sealed the semifinals in advance.

Cruz (1-0) had five hits and one run in seven strong innings for the win and struck out eight. The setback went to the record of Eduar López (0-1), after allowing two runs, one earned, and two hits in three innings and a third.

“At least we finished the tournament on a good note,” said Ramón Vázquez, the manager of the Puerto Rican team. “I think we played pretty well today both offensively and defensively and we were able to get this victory.”

“Winning today’s game was very important, because we know that it is hard for the fans of Puerto Rico that we lost all the games,” he added. “It’s not that we played bad baseball, it’s not that we’ve made seven errors per game or been given 10 runs per game. It’s just that the opponents were better than us.”

The Colombian Caymans took the lead with a solo home run by Maurcio in the third inning, but Puerto Rico reacted to tie it in the bottom half of the same inning. Rey Fuentes reached on an error, advanced to third on Jancarlos Cintrón’s double and scored on pitcher Eduar López’s wild pitch while striking out Brett Rodríguez.

In the fourth inning, Puerto Rico took the lead when Johneswhy Fargas executed a surprise bunt to bring Emmanuel Rivera, who was running for third, to the plate.

Nelson Velázquez responded by pinch-hitting in the fifth inning and hit a two-run single to extend the Puerto Ricans’ lead. Vimael Machín drove in Jancarlos Cintrón to add the Criollos’ last run with a ground ball to first base

Colombia pulled one back in the eighth on a sacrifice fly by Brallan Pérez.

With the semifinals in mind, the Caymans made changes to the lineup. Catcher Sandy León, for example, was rested.

“I made some changes to get the players and pitchers well rested,” Caymanes manager Jose Mosquera said. “We played in the last shift of the night against the Dominican Republic, in a very tough game against a power that exhausted us physically and mentally, and we played the first game this day”.

“Now we must move on, being among the best four in the tournament is already a triumph for us. But now it’s time to turn the page and think about the semifinals,” he added.