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Carlos Beltran leads Puerto Rico past Spain in World Baseball Classic

Puerto Rico's Angel Pagan, right, highs five with

Puerto Rico's Angel Pagan, right, highs five with teammates on a double of Carlos Beltran in the first inning of the World Baseball Classic against Spain. (March 8, 2013) Credit: AP

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - It wasn't the blowout everyone expected.

Carlos Beltran's RBI double keyed a three-run first inning and a trio of Puerto Rico pitchers combined on a five-hitter in a 3-0 victory over Spain at the World Baseball Classic on Friday.

In the tournament opener for both teams, Angel Pagan got Puerto Rico started with a leadoff single against Sergio Perez. One out later, Alex Rios was hit by a pitch and Beltran drove in Pagan with a double to right.

Yadier Molina reached on an error and Mike Aviles hit a sacrifice fly. Consecutive walks to Pedro Valdes and Carlos Rivera forced in another run.

Puerto Rico had several chances to break it open but never scored again against a Spanish team loaded with Latin American players.

"I think we were the only ones who were not underestimating the team from Spain, and they proved it tonight," Puerto Rico manager Edwin Rodriguez said. "Spain has a good team, and good pitching."

Puerto Rico starter Giancarlo Alvarado struck out four in four innings of one-hit ball. Hiram Burgos followed with 4 2-3 innings and Xavier Cedeno threw a called third strike past pinch-hitter Salomon Manriquez with a runner on to end it.

Puerto Rico joined the Dominican Republic atop the Group C standings. The Dominicans beat Venezuela 9-3 in their opener Thursday night at Hiram Bithorn Stadium.

Spain faces the Dominican Republic in the early game Saturday. Puerto Rico plays Venezuela.

New York Sports