By Leif Skodnick
World Baseball Network
Los Angeles Angels farmhand Gustavo Campero went 2-for-4 with a homer, a double, two RBI and two runs scored to lead Colombia over Cuba at the Caribbean Series on Monday.
While Campero got the work done at the plate for Colombia, the bullpen held on to a one-run lead through the last three innings to secure the 5-4 victory.
Campero, 25, spent most of the 2022 minor league season with Double-A Rocket City (Huntsville, Ala.), appearing in six games while spending most of the season on the Development List.
In the bottom of the third, Jordan Diaz ripped an opposite-field double to the right field corner, scoring Campero and Francisco Acuna, giving Colombia a 2-0 lead.
Cuba’s Yordany Alarcon rapped a two-run double to right field in the top of the fourth, scoring Raico Santos and Yovani Alarcon, a stroke that ended the day for Colombia starter Randy Consuegra. Consuegra threw 3.2 innings, allowing two runs on three hits and striking out two.
In the bottom of the fifth, Dayan Frias led off with a single to right. The next batter, Campero, turned on a high fastball and sent it over the right field wall, a two-run shot that gave Columbia a 4-2 lead.
A single by the next batter, Francisco Acuna, ended the day for Cuba starter Jonathan Carbo, who yielded to Yoel Mogena. Carbo went four innings, allowing four runs on three hits, walking one and striking out four.
Acuna stole second on Mogena’s first pitch, and advanced to third when Cuba catcher Yosvani Alarcon’s throw to second found its way to the outfield. Jesus Marriaga’s single to center scored Acuna, giving Colombia a 5-2 lead.
Oscar Marcelino came in to pitch for Colombia in the top of the sixth, and got himself into trouble, successively hitting Denis Laza and Yordany Alarcon with pitches to put runners on first and second with one out. Rafael Vinales followed with a double, scoring Laza to make it 5-3.
Samuel Burgos came on to relieve Marcelino, and promptly surrendered a single to Andres de la Cruz that scored Alarcon, leaving Colombia clinging to a one-run lead.
But the Colombia bullpen was up to the task, with Burgos throwing 2.2 innings of two-hit relief, before yielding to Jhon Peluffo, who retired the side in order in the top of the ninth to earn the save.
Cuba will face Puerto Rico at noon ET at La Rinconada Tuesday, while Colombia will face the Dominican Republic at 5 p.m. ET at La Rinconada. Every game of the 2023 Caribbean Series is available via ESPN Deportes and ESPN+.