Puerto Rico blanks Spain

Mar 9, 2013 - 2:22 AM San Juan, PR (Sports Network) - Carlos Beltran went 1-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored to lift Puerto Rico past Spain, 3-0, on Friday in the Pool C opener for both squads.

Angel Pagan also went 1-for-3 and scored a run for Puerto Rico (1-0), which has finished in fifth place in its two prior WBCs. Mike Aviles lofted a sacrifice fly as part of a three-run opening inning.

Giancarlo Alvarado picked up the win after tossing four innings of one-hit ball. Puerto Rico faces Venezuela (0-1) on Saturday.

Yunesly Sanchez went 2-for-3 for Spain (0-1), which was making its first-ever World Baseball Classic appearance. The team defeated France, South Africa and Israel in September's qualifying round.

Sergio Perez was dealt with the loss and lasted two innings, giving up three runs -- one earned -- while walking four batters. Spain plays the Dominican Republic (1-0) on Saturday.

Beltran's double scored Pagan to make it 1-0. Jesus Merchan then tried to make a back-handed play at third on Yadier Molina's liner, but the third basemen bobbled the play and was charged with an error.

One batter later, Aviles hit a deep sac-fly to center to make it 2-0. After walking a batter and loading the bases with two outs, Spain missed another opportunity to end the inning, but catcher Adrian Nieto couldn't handle a pop- up behind home plate. Carlos Rivera was walked during the same at-bat -- forcing a run -- to make it 3-0.

Spain threatened in the sixth and seventh, but both opportunities were squandered by inning-ending double plays.

At the top of the sixth, Paco Figueroa hit a slow line drive up the middle that froze both base runners and allowed for an easy force at second and tag at third base.

One inning later, Spain's Barbaro Canizares was hit by a pitch to lead off, then, after a strike out, Sanchez singled to center to make put runners on first and second with one out.

Merchan, however, hit a hard ground ball to third base which led to an easy, 5-4-3 double play.

Hiram Burgos pitched well in relief for Puerto Rico, allowing four hits and striking out three batters over 4 2/3 innings.

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