SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Willy Garcia hit a two-run homer and the Dominican Republic beat Cuba 6-1 in the Caribbean Series on Tuesday.
Cuba (0-2) returned to the Caribbean Series in 2014 after a 53-year absence, going 1-3 last year in Venezuela.
Garcia homered in the sixth inning off reliever Jonder Martinez in the tournament opener for the Dominican Republic. The 22-year-old outfielder had three hits, including a double.
Dominican Republic starter Rafael Perez (1-0) pitched 5 1/3 shutout innings. The Texas Rangers righty allowed six hits and struck out one, with no walks. Cuba starter Norge Luis Perez (0-1) allowed three runs and nine hits.
“It was a very close game until the sixth inning,” Cuba manager Alfonso Urquiola said. “After that it was just one-sided.”
Dominican Republic is represented by the Cibao Giants, who won the Dominican winter league for the first time and made their debut in the regional tournament. Cuban league champion Pinar del Rio strengthened its squad with some of the country’s top players, including national team stars Youlieski Gourriel, Alfredo Despaigne and Frederich Cepeda.
Puerto Rico (0-1) plays Mexico (1-0) in the second game.
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