Curacao Tops Mexico 6-5 On First Day of 2024 Caribbean Series

Jonathan Schoop of Curacao celebrates after a home run in the third inning during a game between Curazao and Mexico at loanDepot park as part of the Serie del Caribe 2024 on February 1, 2024 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Luis Gutierrez/Norte Photo/Getty Images)

By Leif Skodnick
World Baseball Network

MIAMI – A bases-clearing triple by Didi Gregorius and back-to-back solo homers by Jonathan Schoop and Ademar Rifaela sparked the Curacao Suns to a 6-5 win over the Naranjeros de Hermosillo in the second game of the 2024 Caribbean Series.

Mexico got on the board in the bottom of the second when Aaron Altherr watched a homer to left field that landed near where the homer statue used to stand in loanDepot Park. The next batter, Julian Ornelas hit a solo homer of his own to right field to give Mexico a 2-0 lead.

Curacao answered immediately in the top of the third, when Didi Gregorius ripped a bases-loaded triple to right field, scoring Andrelton Simmons, Jurickson Profar, and Roger Bernadine, giving Curacao a 3-2 lead.

In the top of the sixth, Jonathan Schoop gave carousel 4-2 lead with a solo homer that hit the facade of the bleachers just inside of the left field foul pole. Ademar Rifaela followed Schoop with a solo homer of his own that bounced off the top of the right field wall and into the bullpen to give Curacao a 5-2 and end Mexico starter Manny Barreda’s outing.

Wladimir Balentien launched a solo homer into the right field bullpen in the top of the eighth to give Curacao a 6-2 lead.

Mexico got a run in the bottom of the ninth on a two-out RBI single by Aaron Altherr, and the Julian Ornelas launched his second homer of the game, a two-run shot inside the right field foul pole, to cut Curaçao’s lead to 6-5. Ornelas’ two-homer game was the first at the Caribbean Series since Balbino Fuenmayor a compliques the fray for Venezuela’s Caribes de Anzoátegui in 2018.

The homer by Altherr ended Curacao reliever Kevin Kelly’s night, and then his replacement, Anthony Herrera, ended Mexico’s threat, getting Agustin Murillo to pop out to shallow left field to end the game.

Mexico, 0-1, will face Puerto Rico, 1-0, on Friday night at 8:30 p.m. Curacao, 1-0, will face Panama, who has yet to play, at 10:30 a.m. Friday morning. Both games will be televised live on ESPN Deportes and ESPN+.

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