By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network
FAJARDO, Puerto Rico – The Fifth Caribbean Cup resumed on Friday at Estadio Concepcion Perez Alberto in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, with World No. 8 Cuba shutting out No. 29 Curacao 4-0.
Cuba is now 2-0 at the Caribbean Cup after four out of the five first days of the tournament were rained out, and will play Puerto Rico on Saturday 30 minutes after the conclusion of Curacao’s game against the United States Virgin Islands at 11 a.m. EDT at Estadio Concepcion Perez Alberto.
The Cuba pitching staff, between starting pitcher Jose Rodriguez, relief pitchers Yankiel Mauris, Geonel Gutierrez, and Yedui Reyes combined to throw seven innings allowing two hits, no walks, and five strikeouts during Friday’s win.
“I felt pretty good. We’ve been working very hard the past two months. I felt like I went out there and did my job the best that I could,” Rodriguez told World Baseball Network. His remarks were translated from Spanish to English.
In the top of the first inning, Cuba designated hitter Roberto Bardoquin unleashed a mammoth solo home run over the left field wall for the first run of the game.
A few batters later, third baseman Dayan Garcia poked a RBI single to right field, scoring first baseman Yasniel Gonzalez to extend the lead to 2-0.
“I felt quite comfortable and above all with great confidence at home and thank God the result came out. I felt calm about choosing good pitches to contribute to the team’s production”, Garcia stated to World Baseball interpreted from Spanish to English during the post game in his three for four day at the plate.
During the top of the fourth inning, Cuba catcher Andrys Perez ripped a double off the bottom of the right center field wall, scoring Garcia to make it 3-0.
Curacao starting pitcher Jordan Lucas was pulled during the fourth inning after throwing 3.1 innings and allowing five hits, three earned runs, and walking one batter as manager Carlos Pineda would go to his bullpen.
Rodriguez threw well against the pesky Curacao offense, going four innings and allowing one hit, no earned runs, and striking out three batters before yielding to relief pitcher Yankiel Maruis for the fifth inning.
“It’s never easy coming in with three days being rained out consecutively, but I was able to come in and workout in the hotel and do whatever I needed to keep myself prepared to do my job today”, Rodriguez stated to World Baseball Network.
In the top of the sixth inning, Cuba added another run when catcher Andrys Perez doubled on a fly ball to center field, scoring Garcia for their fourth run of the game.
Cuba did not look back among all cylinders with shutting down the Curacao offense as Reyes came into the game in the bottom of the seventh inning with one out replacing Gutierrez.
Reyes would get Curacao first baseman Dudley Leonara to ground out to first baseman Yasniel Gonzalez for the final out of the game as Cuba advanced to 2-0 at the Caribbean Cup beating Curacao 4-0.
All remaining games at the Caribbean Cup on Saturday for the semifinals and Sunday for the medal placement round will be streamed on https://r1live.com/ with a paid subscription service.