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Puerto Rico wins back-to back Caribbean Series titles

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GUADALAJARA, Mexico (AP) Jonathan Morales hit a three-run homer in the seventh inning, and Puerto Rico won its second straight Caribbean Series title, rallying past the Dominican Republic 9-4 on Thursday night.

Down 4-3 in the seventh, Morales blasted his first home run of the tournament to give the Puerto Ricans their first lead of the game.

The Caguas Criollos, who rallied from a four-run deficit in their semifinal against Venezuela, gave Puerto Rico their 16th title in the tournament. Only the Dominican Republic (19) has more.

Rusney Castillo also homered for the Puerto Ricans, who played a shortened season after Hurricane Maria devastated the island last September.

“We overcame a big test because of the storm, but after Hurricane Maria I felt like we were going to win this, it was not normal what I felt, but we did it for the island,” Morales said. “We were tested but we overcame them because we are tough.”

Puerto Rico won back-to-back championships for the first time since 1992-93.

“Before the tournament I did not want to talk about the back-to-back championships because I did not want to put extra pressure on the guys, but they made it a reality,” Puerto Rico manager Luis Matos said. “Hurricane Maria was a disaster, the season was shortened and we played during the day and with lower salaries. There were a lot of things going on but we needed to put a fight, and we did it.”

The Dominican Republic was trying to win its first title since 2012.

Brewers’ and Dodgers’ benches empty after Manny Machado and Jesús Aguilar get into it

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The Brewers and Dodgers haven’t had much action in Game 4 of the NLCS, bringing a 1-1 game through 10 innings and about four and a half hours. We finally got something to get the blood pumping, though, when Dodgers shortstop Manny Machado and Brewers first baseman Jesús Aguilar exchanged some words with each other, prompting both teams’ benches to spill onto the field.

With one out, Machado grounded a 3-1, 95 MPH fastball to shortstop Orlando Arcia, who made an easy throw to first base to complete the out. Machado, running the play out, dragged his left leg, slamming it into Aguilar’s leg as he crossed the bag, causing himself to stumble momentarily. Machado went back and jawed at Aguilar like it was his fault.

Machado has not had the best press in the NLCS. He failed to run out a grounder in Game 2, then made a couple of slides in Game 3 that attempted to interfere with Arcia at the second base bag. He was called for interference on the second one. Machado hasn’t earned the benefit of the doubt for his actions tonight.

It’s difficult to imagine Machado’s behavior during the NLCS will affect his windfall as a free agent this offseason, but he’s proving to be somewhat of a distraction for a team trying to get back to the World Series. And that’s not good.