Venezuela remains perfect in Caribbean

Venezuela remains perfect in Caribbean

MEXICALI, Mexico -- Tigres de Aragua manager Buddy Bailey spent part of the first day of the Caribbean Series on Monday expressing his displeasure with the team's travel to anybody that would listen.

The club's flight from Venezuela landed in Mexicali between 2 and 3 a.m. on Monday morning, he said. There wasn't a bus waiting to transport to the players or their families to the team hotel, and he estimated most of his players finally checked into their rooms around 5 a.m. Five hours later, his players were eating breakfast and trickling off to the ballpark for the early game of the series.

Three days and three games later, the travel woes are an afterthought. The Tigres have a perfect record after topping Puerto Rico's Leones de Ponce, 5-2, on Wednesday in the matinee at Estadio Casas GEO.

It was Venezuela's first dominating performance in the round-robin tournament. The team's victories against the Dominican Republic and Mexico were by one run, 3-2 and 1-0, respectively.

"Winning is winning," Bailey said. "It doesn't matter if it's 1-0 or 10-9, you need to win. It's always about winning, but in this format you've got to win."

The Tigres (3-0) will take their unbeaten streak into Thursday's matinee against the Dominican Republic. Mexico and Puerto Rico (0-3) will play in the nightcap on Thursday.

A team from Venezuela last won the Caribbean Series in 2006.

"One of those teams [Mexico and Dominican Republic] is going to have two losses after tonight and that puts us in a position to have to win two out of three [for the title]," Bailey said. "It's pretty good shape. The worst you can do is have a playoff game on Sunday. The bottom line is win, let them play and not worry about it."

Bailey's players must have the same mind-set. The Tigres scored two runs in top of the second inning on a two-out single by Ramon Castro. In the fourth inning, the Venezuelans tacked on two more runs when Wilson Ramos and Luis Ugueto scored on a ground ball up the middle by Alex Delgado.

In the sixth inning, Selwyn Langaigne and Ugueto each hit singles to lead off the frame. Langaigne scored Venezuela's fifth run when Ugueto broke for second base and Puerto Rico catcher Raul Casanova followed with an errant throw.

Venezuela starter Horacio Estrada was charged with one run and four hits in 5 1/3 innings for the victory. Puerto Rico's Orlando Roman gave up five runs on eight hits in six innings.

Jesse Sanchez is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.