The Caribbean Series began last night, with the championship clubs from each of the four winter leagues facing off in a double round robin format, with the top two teams squaring off for the title. Last year’s champions, Escogido, earned a return trip as they attempt to defend their championship.
Caribbean Series Round Robin: Escogido (Dominican Republic) 7, Magallanes (Venezuela) 2
Pablo Sandoval had been a big part of Magallanes emerging from the Venezuelan Winter League to play for in the Caribbean Series. However, he decided against playing in the series, and was definitely missed by Magallanes Friday night. Magallanes took a 2-1 lead into the bottom of the fifth before the defending champions Escogido scored four runs to take the lead, highlighted by a two run home run by Francisco Pena that proved to be the eventual game winner. Escogido tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the seventh en route to the 7-2 victory. Jhonny Nunez, who was in the Rays system for part of 2012, pitched a scoreless eighth for the victors, notching a strikeout and walking a batter.
Obregon (Mexico) 3, Caguas (Puerto Rico) 0
Luis Mendoza combined with five relievers to shut out Caguas last night, earning the 3-0 victory. Alfredo Amezega drove in the first run for Obregon with a third inning double to give Mexico the lead. Marlon Byrd had a two run double in the sixth, extending the lead to 3-0. Meanwhile, Mendoza and the Obregon bullpen shut down Caguas’ offense, limiting them to five hits on the night. Neither of the former Rays players who appeared in this game got a hit, as Iker Franco was 0-3 with a strikeout for Obregon, and Jesus Feliciano went 0-3 for Caguas.