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Cuba Tops Curacao 3-1 in 10 Innings to Open Caribbean Series

 Leif Skodnick  |    Feb 2nd, 2023 6:57pm EST

Staff Reports
World Baseball Network

It was too early for fireworks at Venezuela’s Estadio Forum La Guaira when Cuban Elite League champion Agricultores faced off against Team Curacao in the opening game of the 2023 Caribbean Series.

Perhaps that’s why the game, which started at 10:30 a.m. local time under sunny Caribbean skies, was a pitcher’s duel before Cuba scored two runs in the top of the 10th inning to win the opening game of the event 3-1.

For Cuba, starter Cesar Garcia went seven innings, allowing five hits and one run before being relieved by Andy Vargas, who went the final three innings and earned the win, allowing just one hit and no runs.

Curacao’s Cody Mincey threw seven scoreless innings, allowing five hits before being relieved by Shairon Martis, who allowed all three Cuba runs, taking the loss.

Curacao took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fifth when Darren Sefarina grounded into a fielder’s choice, allowing Sharlon Schoop to score from third.

Andres de la Cruz tied the game for Cuba with a solo home run into the left field bullpen in the bottom of the eighth inning.

In the 10th, Cuba took the lead on a single to right by Guillermo Aviles, who hooked a fastball into the right field corner that scored Rafael Vinales, who started the inning on second base for Cuba. Cuba then loaded the bases, and Shairon Martis was replaced on the mound by Wendell Floranus, who immediately walked Yunieski Larduet to push another run across for Cuba.

Andy Vargas retired the side in order in the bottom of the tenth to close out the win for Cuba.

Cuba is back in action Friday against the Dominican Republic at Estadio Forum La Guaira at 2 p.m., while Curacao faces Mexico at 6 p.m. at La Rinconada in Caracas.

Every game in the 2023 Caribbean Series is streamed live on ESPN Deportes and ESPN+.