Moreno Wins Series Final
Victor Moreno
Victor Moreno

Posted Feb 7, 2006


Victor Moreno picked up the win in relief for Venezuela in the deciding game of the Caribbean Series.

Note: This Victor Moreno is property of the Oakland A's, while the Cardinals' Victor Moreno did not play in the Caribbean Series. We apologize for any confusion. More details here.

Pitcher Victor Moreno helped his Caracas Leones, champion of Venezuela, capture the 36th Caribbean Series championship Tuesday night as they came back to defeat the Dominican Republic by the score of 5 to 4.

Down 4-3 in the top of the ninth, the 26-year-old righthander was called upon with two Dominican runners in scoring position with one out and pitched out of the jam. His teammates scored two runs of their own in the bottom of the frame for the turnaround win.

 

Venezuela took the Series with a perfect 6-0 record. The Dominican Republic finished in second at 4-2. Puerto Rico finished 2-4, while defending champion Mexico was shut out, with six losses.

 

The Series came down to this final game. A win by the host Venezuelan team meant their first Caribbean Series championship since 1989 while a loss would have led to a one-game playoff between the same two squads on Wednesday.

 

About Moreno

 

Moreno had a very good regular season in winter ball for the Aragua Tigres with an 11-3 record and an ERA of 3.89. He fanned 33 in just 37 innings. In the Venezuelan playoffs, he was 1-1 with a 3.12 ERA, with ten strikeouts in 8-2/3 innings pitched. Moreno was selected to join the league champion Caracas Leones for the Caribbean Series and was unscored upon in three appearances totaling 2-2/3 innings in the Series.

 

Moreno appeared in 49 games for Sacramento in Oakland's system in 2005, where he was selected to the Triple-A All-Star team. In fact,
Moreno looked to be in line for his first-ever major league action, but Randy Flores' younger brother Ron received the call-up to Oakland instead.

Moreno had joined the A's via the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 draft, having been taken from the Twins in December, 2004. The veteran has also pitched in the Angels, Phillies and Diamondbacks organizations since seeing his first professional action in 1999 at the age of 19.

The game

 

The Orioles’ Miguel Tejada was at the plate when the initial run came home on a damaging fielding error by Venezuelan second baseman Marco Scutaro (Oakland As) in the first inning. Tejada came around to score himself later in the frame. Jeremi Gonzalez (Mets) pitched well overall, giving up these two unearned runs and two others in eight innings on the mound for Venezuela.

 

The Dominicans’ rightfielder Timo Perez (White Sox) tried to make an ill-advised shoestring catch off Franklin Gutierrez (Cleveland) in right during the sixth. As the ball shot underneath his glove and rolled to the track, Scutaro and the Orioles’ new catcher Ramon Hernandez crossed the plate for Venezuela to tie the game at 2-2. It was scored a two-run triple. One run was charged to the starter, Oakland’s Juan Cruz, and the Diamondbacks’ Jose Valverde was tagged with the other.

 

While this has nothing to do with the game, it is a good indication how things go in this environment. Between the sixth and seventh, a group of cameramen got into some kind of dispute with security guards as both warring camps spilled onto the field. They continued their disagreement on the field of play as players and umpires looked on. Bizarre.

 

The #9 hitter for the Dominican Republic, catcher Sandy Martinez (Mets), took the lead back two batters later with a solo home run, making the score 3-2 in the seventh. He had also doubled earlier in the contest.

 

Former St. Louis', now Boston’s Julian Tavarez pitched two perfect setup innings for the Dominicans in the seventh and eighth to protect the slim lead. His cap was clean, by the way.

 

Atlanta’s and the Dominican Republic’s Jorge Sosa came on again to try to earn the save in the bottom of the ninth with the home crowd cheering wildly against him. It was again bad for Sosa, as he blew his third save in five opportunities in the Series, though it wasn’t all his fault this time.

 

Ramon Hernandez’ single started it. Boston’s new shortstop Alex Gonzalez singled home the tying run. However, he was caught off first when the relay home was cut off. But, the Dominican infielders threw the ball away, allowing Gonzalez to get back to first.

 

Cubs backup catcher Henry Blanco hit what looked to be a very catchable ball that apparently was lost in the lights before it dropped between leftfielder Napoleon Calzado (Baltimore) and shortstop Erick Aybar (Angels) to "cap" the improbable comeback. In fact, it looked as if the ball glanced off Aybar’s head as he ran with his back toward the plate.

 

Hundreds of fans stormed the field even before Gonzalez could cross the plate with the Series-ending run for the Caracas Leones and the entire Venezuelan nation.

 

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brwalton@earthlink.net.

 

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