Jesse Sanchez

Mexico eliminates Cuba in Caribbean Series semi

Mazatlan set to take on Venezuela in championship game

Mexico 7, Cuba 2

Mexico's Venados de Mazatlan edged Cuba's Ciego de Avila, 7-2, on Saturday night at Estadio Quisqueya to return to the Caribbean Series championship game for the third year in a row.

Mexico will take on Venezuela on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET. Venezuela's Tigres de Aragua cruised past Puerto Rico's Cangrejeros de Santurce, 13-3, in Saturday's first semifinal game.

It's been quite a run for Mexico. A team from the country won the Caribbean Series championship in 2013 (Yaquis de Obregon) and '14 (Naranjeros de Hermosillo). Cuba's Pinar del Rio defeated Mexico's Tomateros de Culiacan, 3-2, in the championship game last year in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Mexico's team from Obregon also won the title in '11.

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On Saturday, Mexico scored three runs in the fourth inning and tacked on another run when former Major League infielder Yuniesky Betancourt scored on a single by catcher Erick Rodriguez for a 4-0 lead.

Mazatlan won its first and only Caribbean Series title in 2005 in Mazatlan. Cuba finished the tournament with a record of 1-4.

Betancourt went 3-for-4 with one run and four RBIs in the victory. Betancourt, 34, played parts of nine seasons with the Major Leagues with Seattle, Kansas City and Milwaukee starting in 2005. He played in Japan in 2014 and for Tijuana and Mexicali in Mexico last season.

Mexico second baseman Esteban Quiroz made a fine defensive play in the top of the seventh inning, fielding a hard-hit ball by Cuba's Stayler Hernandez, and then getting the forceout at second before firing the ball to first baseman Cyle Hankerd to complete the inning-ending double play.

Cuba's first three hitters of the inning reached base and scored runs, but Quiroz's play ended the scoring threat.

Mexico tacked on three runs in the bottom of the inning to add to the lead.

Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.