With game-ending slam, Mexico joins Cuba in Caribbean semis

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MEXICO CITY (AP) Sebastian Valle hit a game-ending grand slam in the bottom of the ninth inning to give unbeaten Mexico a 5-1 victory over Venezuela in the Caribbean Series on Friday night.

Mexico improved to 3-0 in the tournament with its ninth consecutive Caribbean Series win, including a 6-0 run to last year's championship.

Washington Nationals reliever Oliver Perez got the win for Aguilas de Mexicali, who secured a spot in the semifinals. Mexico defeated Venezuela for the title last year.

Pedro Rodr�guez took the loss for Venezuela's Aguilas de Zulia.

In the earlier game, Cuba also moved into the semifinals with a 6-1 win over Puerto Rico.

William Saavedra homered and drove in three runs, Vladimir Garcia pitched six solid innings and Cuba's Alazanes de Granma upped their record to 2-0 by beating the winless Criollos de Caguas.

Garc�a gave up one run and five hits to earn the win for Cuba, looking for its second Caribbean championship in three years.

Saavedra went 3 for 4 with a double. Carlos Benitez had two hits and two RBIs for Cuba.

Jarret Leverett took the loss after yielding six hits and four runs in 2 1/3 innings. Puerto Rico was handed its third straight defeat.

The Criollos de Caguas will take Saturday off and then try to avoid elimination Sunday when they face the Tigres de Licey from the Dominican Republic.

In the Caribbean Series, five teams play against each other in the first round and the top four advance to the semifinals.