2009 Caribbean Series
From BR Bullpen
The 2009 Caribbean Series (Serie del Caribe) was the thirty-ninth edition of the second stage of the Caribbean Series. It was held in Mexicali, Baja California in Mexico from February 2 through February 8, 2009. The series featured four teams from Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Venezuela. The Tigres de Aragua won the Series and were managed by Buddy Bailey. The Most Valuable Player was Francisco Butto, a pitcher with Aragua.
- The Tigres del Licey won the Dominican League title. They are the defending champions and have won more Caribbean Series (10) than any other entry.
- The Tigres de Aragua took home their 5th Venezuelan League pennant in six years under manager Buddy Bailey.
- The Venados de Mazatlán won the Mexican Pacific League title; they were the most recent LMP team to win a Caribbean Series, doing so in 2005.
- The Leones de Ponce won the Puerto Rican League title in the league's return from suspension, causing the country to miss last year's Caribbean Series.
 Final Standings
|Tigres de Aragua||Venezuelan League||6||5||1||.833||Buddy Bailey|
|Venados de Mazatlán||Mexican Pacific League||6||3||3||.500||Lorenzo Bundy|
|Leones de Ponce||Puerto Rican League||6||2||4||.333||Eduardo Pérez|
|Tigres del Licey||Dominican League||6||2||4||.333||José Offerman|
- Batting Average: .423 - Edgar Gonzalez, Mazatlán
- Home Runs: 3 - Adrián González, Mazatlán
- Runs Batted In: 8 - Adrián González, Mazatlán
- Wins: 12 tied with one apiece
 All-Star Team
- C: Wilson Ramos, Aragua (.385/.529/.385)
- 1B: Adrián González, Mazatlán (.286/.360/.762, 3 HR, 8 RBI)
- 2B: Edgar González, Mazatlán (.423/.444/.577)
- SS: Luis Figueroa, Ponce (.389/.429/.444)
- 3B: Luis Maza, Aragua (.300/.364/.450)
- RF: Christian Quintero, Mazatlán (.318/.375/.409)
- CF: Selwyn Langaigne, Aragua (.280/.308/.320)
- LF: Rodney Medina, Aragua (.269/.269/.346)
- DH: Ronny Paulino, Licey (.381/.480/.762)
- RHP: Giancarlo Alvarado, Ponce (1-0, 2.31, 16 K in 11 2/3 IP)
- LHP: Horacio Estrada, Aragua (1-0, 1.69)
- RP: Francisco Butto, Aragua (4 Sv, 2.70)
- Mgr: Buddy Bailey, Aragua
 The Games
 February 2
|Win: Belisario (1-0) Loss: Marte (0-1) Save: Butto (1)|
Aragua pulled off a stunner of the favorites to open the Series. They got going in the second against last year's Series MVP, Ramón Ortiz. 3B Luis Ugueto drew a walk with two outs. Veteran catcher Alex Delgado grounded to 3B Ronnie Belliard, whose throwing error let Ugueto take third. #9 hitter and 2B Ramón Castro then singled to left to score Ugueto with the first run.
Meanwhile, Aragua hurler Brad Knox was cruising, tossing a no-hitter through 6th against a lineup composed of 8 major leaguers and a former Cuban national team player, Amaury Cazana. His team gave him another run in the 8th when Delgado singled off of Ortiz. Castro bunted him over and Rodney Medina ground him to third. SS Luis Maza then doubled home Delgado for a 2-0 lead.
In the 7th, Licey finally got to Knox. CF Jose Bautista walked with one out, the 5th walk issued by the Aragua hurler. Despite still having a no-hitter in progress, Aragua manager Buddy Bailey replaced him with Yohan Pino. Ronnie Belliard then homered on Pino's third pitch to tie the game.
In the 9th, Castro drew a walk from veteran Victor Marte. Medina bunted him over to bring up Maza, 3 for 4 on the day. Luis came through once more, with a single to center to score the winner.
|Win: Silva (1-0) Loss: Buzachero (0-1) Save: Navarro (1)|
Usually the underdog of any given Caribbean Series, the host Mexican team had better hopes due to the presence of Padres star Adrian Gonzalez. In their opener, he certainly did his share to propel them to victory.
Mazatlan RF Christian Quintero was hit by a Giancarlo Alvarado pitch with one out in the first; Alvarado had recently had a strong performance in the 2008 Taiwan Series, but he was not as sharp here. With Quintero on first, Alvarado threw a wild pitch to send him to second. Adrian Gonzalez then singled to center to make it 1-0.
In the second, Puerto Rican DH and cleanup man Raul Casanova singled off of Walter Silva. With one out, 3B Fernando Cortez singled. C Eli Marrero grounded to 3B Freddy Sandoval, who threw to 2B Edgar Gonzalez to get one. Gonzalez's relay throw to his brother Adrian was off the mark for an error, scoring Casanova.
The Leones took the lead in the 5th. Cortez singled and advanced on a Silva wild pitch. With two away, CF Jesus Feliciano singled home Cortez for a 2-1 edge.
The Venados did not wait long to rally. In the 6th, Sandoval singled with two out and stole second base. Edward Buzachero relieved Alvarado but allowed a RBI single to Edgar Gonzalez to tie the score.
In the 7th, veteran SS Heber Gomez singled against Buzachero with none out. A pickoff attempt backfired as Leones 1B Carlos Rivera failed to come up with the ball, allowing Gomez to move to second. CF Jon Weber, a returnee from past Series, then bunted Gomez to third. Adrian Gonzalez launched a fly to center to score Gomez to make it 3-2. The Gonzalez brothers had driven in all 3 Mexican runs.
In the meantime, Silva (11 K in 7 IP) and three relievers (Rafael Martin, Jose Luis Garcia and Hector Navarro) combined to shut the door on Ponce's hopes.
 February 3
|Win: Simon (1-0) Loss: Vaquedano (0-1) Save: Manon (1)|
Licey's Alfredo Simon and Ponce's Hector Mercado got into a fine pitching duel here. Ponce struck first, tagging Simon for a run in the 4th. Leadoff hitter/CF Jesus Feliciano opened with a single to right, then 2B Andy Gonzalez and 1B Carlos Rivera also singled to right to make it 1-0.
The Licey lineup continued its game one struggles through six shutout frames by Mercado. In the 7th, they finally woke up for a spell. With two out, CF Jose Bautista walked. Fernando Martinez pinch-hit for Salvador Paniagua and promptly smashed a pitch from reliever Jose Vaquedano over the wall in right for a 2-run homer, changing a 1-0 deficit to a 2-1 lead for the defending champions.
Simon allowed nothing further after the 4th and was finally removed to open the 8th. Valerio de los Santos gave up a 2-out double to Feliciano but Felix Rodriguez retired Gonzalez to end the inning. In the 9th, Julio Manon allowed a leadoff single to Rivera (his 3rd hit of the day) but PR Miguel Abreu was thrown out stealing by C Robinzon Diaz. Manon then retired RF Jorge Padilla and PH Raul Casanova to end the game. The first three games of the 2008 Series had been decided by a single run.
|Win: Carvajal (1-0) Loss: Cobos (0-1)|
The trend of one-run games continued with another fine pitching duel. Edgar Gonzalez of Mazatlan faced off with Tim Harikkala of Aragua. Harikkala left after six innings, having allowed only two hits and no runs. Gonzalez lasted a little longer, fanning 9 in 7 shutout innings, giving up two hits and no walks.
Orber Moreno replaced Harikkala in the 7th. 3B Agustin Murillo opened with a single, 1B Adrian Gonzalez fanned and LF Cristhian Presichi doubled. The third base umpire called for Murillo to hold up, but he charged on ahead and was thrown out by CF Selwyn Langaigne (with 2B Ramon Castro on the relay).
2B The other Edgar Gonzalez, Adrian's brother, opened the 8th with a single and advanced on a bunt by C Miguel Ojeda. SS Oscar Robles grounded Gonzalez to third but he was stranded there when RF Christian Quintero grounded out to SS Luis Maza.
Old-timer Rafael Diaz relieved Gonzalez in the bottom of the 8th and got a 1-2-3 inning, including two K's. Victor Moreno relieved Orber Moreno to open the 9th and Mexico challenged yet again. CF Jon Weber singled and was bunted to second by Murillo. Adrian Gonzalez was intentionally walked. Moreno then recovered to fan Presichi and get DH Freddy Sandoval on a fly.
Arturo Lopez became Mexico's third hurler in the bottom of the 9th and he ran into trouble quickly. LF Rodney Medina greeted Lopez with a double. Maza struck out and 1B Hector Gimenez was issued an intentional walk. Tim Lavigne relieved and retired DH Raul Chavez and Langaigne to escape the jam and force extra innings.
Mexico continued their run of failed rallies in the 10th. Edgar Gonzalez singled and was bunted over by Ojeda once again. Robles walked and Quintero laid down a bunt single to load the bases. Weber flew out to left, though, and Murillo went down swinging as pitchers named Moreno had gotten out of four james in four innings.
In the bottom of the 10th, the Tigres led off with a single by RF Jackson Melian. 3B Luis Ugueto bunted him to second and C Wilson Ramos singled him to third. Castro grounded to Adrian Gonzalez, who threw to Robles for out number two, then took the return throw to complete the inning-ending double play.
Marcos Carvajal was Venezuela's 4th pitcher, coming in to start the 11th. He walked Presichi with one out and the speedster swiped second. Sandoval fanned but Edgar Gonzalez singled Presichi to third. Ojeda then struck out to blow another chance for the host country.
Jose Cobos became Mexico's 5th hurler of the double shutout in the bottom of the 11th and got the first two outs quickly. Gimenez then delivered a Cobos offering over the wall in right for a dramatic end to an exciting game.
 February 4
|Win: Estrada (1-0) Loss: Roman (0-1) Save: Butto (2)|
After the first two days of one-run games, there finally was a contest which did not come down to the final at-bat.
Venezuela started strong. In the second, DH Wilson Ramos singled with one out against Puerto Rican national team mainstay Orlando Roman. After a strikeout by 3B Luis Ugueto, veteran C Alex Delgado hit a ground-rule double. #9 hitter and 2B Ramon Castro hit a shot to right field, scoring both runners, but Castro was thrown out by Jorge Padilla trying to stretch the hit to a double.
In the 4th, Ramos again got things going, this time with a one-out walk. Ugueto ground to 3B Fernando Cortez, whose throwing error put runners on second and third. Delgado then singled to center to put the Tigers ahead by a 4-1 margin.
Aragua got some insurance in the sixth. RF Selwyn Langaigne singled to open the frame. With one out, Ugueto singled and CF Jesus Feliciano made an error on the play, letting Langaigne take third. Ugueto stole second; on the play, C Raul Casanova's throw went wide of the mark, giving Langaigne the chance to come home and make it 5-1.
Ponce's last rally came in the bottom of the 7th. Raul Gonzalez doubled off reliever Erick Arteaga and Cortez singled. Padilla grounded the runners over and Figueroa hit a sacrifice fly, but that was it for Puerto Rico as they became the only 0-3 team while Aragua became the only 3-0 club.
|Win: Martin (1-0) Loss: Sosa (0-1) Save: Navarro (2)|
A series noted for its pitching after five games exploded with offensive fireworks in game six, as the hosts continued the strongest play by a Mexican team in years in the Series while the defending champs continued to struggle.
In the first inning, Licey got on the board quickly. SS Erick Aybar began with a double off Juan Pena and moved to third on a grounder by 2B Anderson Hernandez. Pena then tossed a wild pitch to put the Tigres up 1-0.
Mazatlan took the lead in the second. With one out, the bottom 3 hitters in the lineup connected against Jorge Sosa. RF Cristhian Presichi got the first of his three hits, then C Saul Soto singled. SS Heber Gomez singled to left and an error by Timo Perez helped both runners score to make it 2-1 Mexico.
In the third, the Venados again took advantage of Licey defensive lapses. With two away, 2B Edgar Gonzalez singled and made it to third thanks to an Erick Aybar error. LF Ruben Rivera singled for a 3-1 lead.
Licey fought back. Hernandez walked with one out in the bottom of the inning, then 1B Willy Aybar tripled him in. C Ronny Paulino doubled to tie the score. Sergio Valenzuela "relieved" Pena but yielded a 2-run homer to CF Jose Bautista, scoring Bautista's old Pittsburgh Pirates teammate Paulino and putting the Dominicans ahead 5-3.
In the 4th, Gomez singled with one out and took second on a grounder. 3B Agustin Murillo singled him in to pull the Venados within one. 1B Adrian Gonzalez then launched a 2-run homer to left-center to give Mexico a 6-5 advantage.
In the bottom of the 4th, Willy Aybar and Paulino both walked with two outs. Bautista singled in Aybar to tie the game again but RF Amaury Cazana struck out to end the inning.
In the 5th, Rivera and Presichi singled with one out to force Sosa from the game. Jailen Peguero came in and walked Soto to load the bags. An error by Paulino let Rivera score to put Mazatlan ahead 7-6. CF Jon Weber singled home another run before Murillo ground into an inning-ending double play.
In the bottom of the 5th, the lights in left field had to be shut off due to technical problems, delaying the game for almost an hour.
In the sixth, Adrian Gonzalez greeted new pitcher Valerio de los Santos with a home run to left for a 9-6 lead. DH Robert Saucedo walked and Edgar Gonzalez singled. Oneli Perez relieved and fanned Rivera but Presichi singled to load the bases. Perez threw a wild pitch to make it 10-6 then intentionally walked Soto. Gomez flew out to left, scoring Gonzalez for a 11-6 Mexican edge.
The Dominicans rallied in the 8th. 3B Ronnie Belliard opened with a double and Erick Aybar doubled him in with on out. Rafael Diaz relieved and walked Hernandez but got Willy Aybar to pop up. Paulino doubled home two runs to make it a 2-run game but Diaz set Bautista down on strikes.
In the 9th, Gonzalez homered to left off Carlos Perez, the 7th of 8 Dominican pitchers. He set a new Caribbean Series single-game record with 3 home runs in a contest.
 February 5
|Win: Sosa (1-0) Loss: Rodriguez (0-1) Save: Butto (3)|
Aragua knocked off the defending champs and also eliminated Ponce with a crucial win, leaving it a two-team tournament - with Aragua being the lone unbeaten club.
Licey's day started well when catcher Ronny Paulino hit a 2-out first-inning homer off Yohan Pino. Pino only lasted two innings before giving way to Oswaldo Sosa; after the first quick start, Licey got no more runs against Pino, Sosa, Andrew Lorraine, Ivan Blanco, Victor Moreno and Francisco Butto.
That meant that Licey starter Nerio Rodriguez, the 2008 Mexican League Pitcher of the Year, had to be at his best. He allowed no runs - except for the third inning that cost Licey the contest. #9 hitter/2B Ramon Castro began that inning with a single. LF Rodney Medina also singled, then SS Luis Maza bunted the runners over. 1B Hector Gimenez struck out. RF Jackson Melian grounded back to the mound but beat out the throw, scoring Castro with a single. Melian singled, then CF Selwyn Langaigne delivered a crucial 2-run game-winning single. After that, Aragua's bullpen kept Licey in check for the win.
|Win: Jose Garcia (1-0) Loss: Padilla (0-1)|
Mazatlan remained a game back of Aragua while Ponce stayed winless, with the Series maintaining its dramatic pace with a 12-inning duel.
Mexican 2B Edgar Gonzalez got the first of 4 hits in the second inning, with a one-out triple off Bill Pulsipher. LF Ruben Rivera lined to SS Luis Figueroa, who threw to second to complete the double play.
Ponce took the lead in the third. Figueroa doubled, then Pablo Ortega threw a wild pitch. One out later, cleanup hitter and 1B Carlos Rivera hit a sacrifice fly. It would be Puerto Rico's only run as Ortega (9 H, 3BB in 6 1/3 IP), Arturo Lopez (1 H in 0 IP), Tim Lavigne (1 H, 2 BB in 2 1/3 IP), Jose Luis Garcia (2 1/3 IP, 0 H, 0 BB) and Hector Navarro (1 H in 1 IP) kept letting batters reach base only to be stranded. The Mexican staff fanned 15 Leones.
In the 5th, Pulsipher finally faded a bit. Edgar Gonzalez singled and advanced on a grounder by CF Cristhian Presichi. C Miguel Ojeda then singled to right to drive home Gonzalez and tie the score. Pulsipher left after 6 1/3 innings, having allowed one run; after that, Puerto Rico used a wide array of pitchers, employing 7 more over the course of the night.
In the bottom of the 9th inning, Ponce got one of their best chances. With one out, CF Jesus Feliciano singled. He stole second and took third on a grounder by Figueroa. Lavigne walked 2B Andy Gonzalez, bringing up Rivera, who had won the MVP award in the recent 2008 Americas Baseball Cup. To face Carlos, Mexico skipper Lorenzo Bundy brought in Jose Luis Garcia. Garcia threw a ball then Rivera fouled off two straight offerings before a swinging strike 3 to force extra innings.
In the 12th, Juan Padilla walked Ojeda to open the frame. #9 hitter/SS Heber Gomez laid down a bunt, which was fielded by Rivera. Rivera's throw to second was wide of the mark, though, letting Ojeda race to third while Gomez was safe at first. Travis Minix relieved and promptly gave up a single to RF Christian Quintero. Minix got the next two outs, but DH Freddy Sandoval then doubled home both Gomez and Quintero for a 4-1 cushion. Gonzalez doubled to finish the day a homer shy of the cycle, driving home Sandoval for a 5-1 edge.
In the bottom of the 12th, Hector Navarro quickly disposed of Figueroa and Gonzalez on strikeouts. Rivera singled before LF Raul Gonzalez struck out for the third time; he had stranded 7 runners on the day.
 February 6
|Win: Matos (1-0) Loss: Mateo (0-1) Save: Maldonado (1)|
Licey clinched the worst record by a Dominican team in a Caribbean Series in at least 13 years.
Puerto Rico got all they needed on the third pitch of the game, when leadoff man Jesus Feliciano went deep off of Julio Mateo. 3B Gabriel Martinez doubled to open the third inning, then scored on a two-out single by SS Luis Figueroa for a 2-0 lead. Puerto Rican starter Josue Matos allowed no runs and only two hits in five innings, but walked six. Relievers Juan Padilla, Josh Rainwater and Ivan Maldonado made it hold up by tossing four goose eggs to complete the whitewash as the Licey offense remained limp despite several players who have been starters in the major leaguers.
In the 6th, Ponce got a second homer from a player not noted for their power, this time RF Andy Gonzalez. Matos, Gonzalez and Feliciano liked helped their case to make the Puerto Rican roster for the 2009 World Baseball Classic as all three were on the provisional roster that had been released.
|Win: O. Moreno (1-0) Loss: Bustillos (0-1) Save: Butto (4)|
Going into the game, Aragua could clinch their first Series title ever with a win, while Mazatlan could keep alive the host country's hopes with a win in a crucial contest. It was especially more interesting as it featured the two less-successful countries in the modern era of the Caribbean Series.
Mazatlan got going in the first against former Venezuelan national team hurler Erick Arteaga. RF Christian Quintero doubled with one out and then took third on a wild pitch. 1B Adrian Gonzalez then doubled to make it 1-0.
Former major leaguer Francisco Cordova failed to contact the Tigres, though. In the 2nd inning, CF Selwyn Langaigne and C Wilson Ramos singled. Cordova fanned 3B Luis Ugueto, but DH Raul Chavez singled in Langaigne. Both Chavez and Langaigne would finish the game with 3 hits. With two outs, LF Rodney Medina singled home Ramos for a 2-1 edge. Cordova allowed 7 hits in a rough 3 2/3 innings but was not charged with any other runs.
Venezuela was on its third pitcher, Orber Moreno, in the 5th inning when Mexico rallied to tie it. SS Heber Gomez opened with a double, then CF Jon Weber coaxed a walk - during the walk, a wild pitch by Moreno sent Gomez to third. Quintero struck out but Gonzalez singled under the glove of 2B Ramon Castro to make it a 2-2 contest.
In the 7th, SS Luis Maza doubled off of Oscar Bustillos, who had relieved Cordova back in the 4th. Lorenzo Bundy replaced Bustillos with Arturo Lopez, a member of Mexico's provisional roster for the 2009 World Baseball Classic. Lopez was not at his best in this game. 1B Hector Gimenez bunted Maza to third, then Lopez intentionally walked cleanup hitter Jackson Melian. Langaigne grounded to first, scoring Maza with the go-ahead run. A free pass was issued to Ramos. This intentional walk didn't pay off either as Ugueto then singled in Melian. Bundy next turned to former Mexican national team hurler Jose Cobos. Cobos gave up a single to Chavez to make it a 5-2 game before Castro flew out to end the busy inning.
Venezuela tried to put on some insurance in the 9th against Cobos as Langaigne and Ramos began the inning with singles. Ugueto grounded the runners over, brining up Chavez in another key situation. This time, Cobos got the better of the duel as Chavez grounded back to the mound and Cobos threw home to Miguel Ojeda to get Langaigne at the plate. Castro then flew out once more.
In the bottom of the 9th, Buddy Bailey turned to closer Francisco Butto. DH Oscar Robles drew a 5-pitch walk and Butto threw a wild pitch but Ojeda struck out. Gomez singled in Robles to close the gap to two. Weber grounded out to second, advancing Gomez. On a 2-0 count, Quintero flew out to Langaigne to end the contest.
It was Butto's 4th save of the Series, setting a new Caribbean Series record.
Aragua had successfully claimed its first Caribbean Series title ever.
 February 7
|Win: Alvarado (1-0) Loss: Knox (0-1)|
Venezuela's hopes of a perfect record went by the wayside in what was otherwise a meaningless final game for them.
Brad Knox, the star of the Venezuelan Tigres' win over Licey's Tigres, was not nearly as sharp in this one. He allowed three hits but no runs in the first two innings, then totally collapsed in the third. C Eli Marrero opened with a line drive single to left. CF Jesus Feliciano singled. SS Luis Figueroa laid down a bunt single. 1B Andy Gonzalez (who would reach base all 4 trips to the plate today) singled home Marrero. DH Carlos Rivera singled to center, scoring Feliciano and Figueroa. RF Jorge Padilla, the 2008-2009 Puerto Rican League MVP, homered to left to make it 6-0, still with none out. 3B Fernando Cortez tripled. After a strikeout of LF Charlie Fermaint, 2B Iggy Suarez singled home Cortez. Knox threw a wild pitch but retired Marrero. Andrew Lorraine relieved and plunked Feliciano, the 11th Puerto Rican batter of the inning. Figueroa singled to right to score Suarez; it was his second hit of the frame. Gonzalez singled in Feliciano for the 9th run of the inning, his 2nd RBI single of the inning. Finally, Rivera, the 14th batter of the half-inning, popped up to end the carnage. Puerto Rico would get only one more hit and no more runs over the next six innings, but the damage had been done.
Venezuela got its lone run in the 4th when CF Selwyn Langaigne hit a one-out double off of Giancarlo Alvarado and was singled home by 1B Ramon Castro. It was the only score off of the former Pirates farmhand in a fine six-inning stint and two relievers sealed the deal.
|Win: Perez (1-0) Loss: Silva (1-1) Save: Manon (2)|
Licey managed to avoid being the first one-win Dominican entry since 1992 by winning their finale. They started strong against Walter Silva. SS Erick Aybar doubled, then 3B Anderson Hernandez reached on an error by 2B Oscar Robles. CF Jose Bautista hit into a run-scoring double play, then DH Ronny Paulino homered to make it 2-0.
In the third, Mexico got to Jose Mercedes when RF Christian Quintero doubled home SS Heber Gomez, who had reached on a force play. The Tigres padded their lead in the 5th when RF Ricardo Nanita hit a one-out single off of Silva and 1B Salvador Paniagua launched a 2-run shot to left field.
In the bottom of the inning, 1B Freddy Sandoval singled, advanced on a grounder and came home on a hit by Quintero to close the gap to 4-2.
Mexico's best chance thereafter came in the 7th against Oneli Perez. With two out, Gomez doubled and Quintero was hit by a pitch to put the potential go-ahead run at the plate in Oscar Robles, but Robles grounded out to end Mexico's last challenge. Still, it had been the best finish by a Mexican club in a Caribbean Series in four years.
|Serie del Caribe (Caribbean Series)
| Most Valuable Player | Serie Interamericana | Confederación de Béisbol del Caribe|
|Caribbean Baseball Hall of Fame|