By Leif Skodnick
World Baseball Network
It would be reasonable for Puerto Rico to be at least mildly intimidated to be going up against Venezuela’s Jhoulys Chacin, a Major League veteran with 14 seasons and 338 appearances to his name.
But if the Indios de Mayaguez batters, champions of the Liga Beisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente, Puerto Rico’s winter league, were intimidated they didn’t show it, putting up six hits and six runs against the veteran Chacin as Puerto Rico defeated Venezuela 6-1 at Estadio Forum La Guaira.
Puerto Rico got to Chacin quickly, with Bryan Torres walking to lead off the game and Emmanuel Rivera following him with a ground rule double, giving them runners at second and third with no outs. After Vimael Machin popped out and Edwin Diaz was called out on strikes, Danny Ortiz hit a bloop single to shallow right field that caromed off the glove of Venezuela second baseman Ali Castillo and fell to the turf, allowing Torres and Rivera to score for a 2-0 lead.
In the bottom of the second, Roby Enriquez doubled home Ruben Castro for a 3-0 Puerto Rico lead.
Venezuelan Major League vet Wilson Ramos rapped an RBI single past the glove of diving Puerto Rico shortstop Edwin Diaz in the bottom of the fourth to score Isaias Tejeda.
Chacin walked Bryan Torres to start the top of the fifth, and Torres stole second. The next batter, Vimael Machin, doubled to score Torres and make it 4-1. Edwin Diaz hit into a fielder’s choice at short, and when Venezuela tried to get the Machin at third rather than the force at first, third baseman Hernan Perez missed the tag and everyone was safe.
Yapson Gomez came on to relieve Chacin and immediately gave up a single to Danny Ortiz. Two batters later, Ruben Castro got on when Venezuelan first baseman Isaias Tejeda couldn’t handle Castro’s waist-high drive right at him, loading the bases and Gomez’s night was over. On came Yoimer Camacho for Venezuela, who walked Gabriel Cancel to make it 6-1 Puerto Rico.
Four Puerto Rico relievers combined to throw 5.1 innings of one-hit ball, walking two and striking out eight, to preserve the lead after started Braden Webb left in the top of the fourth.
Both teams are now 1-1, as are the other six teams in the Caribbean Series going into the third day of the event.
Puerto Rico will play the Dominican Republic tomorrow afternoon at 2 p.m. ET, and
Venezuela will face Cuba tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m., with both games being played at Estadio Forum La Guaira. All games of the 2023 Caribbean Series are available on ESPN Deportes and ESPN+.