Bartolo Colon struggling this winter

Former major league pitchers Raul Valdes and Bartolo Colon are going opposite ways in the round robin semifinal in the Dominican Republic winter league. While Cuban born Valdes is doing very well, Colon has not had good outings so far.

Valdes pitched six scoreless innings to guide Toros del Este to an 8-2 victory over Gigantes del Cibao Sunday at San Francisco de Macoris. The Toros lead the round robin and are one win away from reaching their first final in 15 years.

Valdes, who is 3-0 ledger with a 1.69 ERA in the semifinal round, struck out six and walked only one. The 33-year-old lefty, who will go to the St. Louis Cardinals' spring training camp looking for a place on the roster, has 12 strikeouts and only two walks in 16 innings pitched during the Domincan playoff series.

Alejandro D'Aza and Ricardo Nanita homered to secure the win for the Toros, who have an 8-4 record two-thirds of the way through the series. Jose Capellan (0-2) lost the game for the Gigantes.

In Santo Domingo, Estrellas Orientales beat their arch-rivals Leones del Escogido 9-3 to keep their grasp as the second place tem. Escogido and Gigantes are tied for third place.

Colon failed to secure a win for the third straight game in the postseason, allowing four runs in five innings. The free-agent right-hander has an 0-2 record, with 4.86 ERA while allowing 27 hits in 16 2/3 innings as one of Escogido's late roster additions.

American pitcher L.J. Gagnier (1-0) was the winner after allowing three runs over five innings of work, while Paul McAnulty had a 3-for-5 night with two RBIs and one run scored.

In Caracas, Venezuela, Caribes de Anzoategui scored five times in the sixth inning to beat Leones de Caracas 5-4 and take over first place from them in the semifinal round of the Venezuelan winter league.

Gustavo Molina homered and Eliezer Alfonso had a two-run double to lead the Caribes' rally. Eduardo Figueroa (2-0) pitched two scoreless innings to take the win, while Ramon Ramirez had the save. Armando Gabino (0-1) was the losing pitcher.

In Isla Margarita, Jean Carlos Boscan had a bases loaded walk-off single to lead the local Bravos to a 4-3 win over Aguilas de Zulia. Jean Machi (1-0) was the winning pitcher while Amalio Diaz (0-2), who allowed the game winning hit, was the loser.

Caribes lead the standings with a 5-2 record, while Caracas (4-2), Aragua (3-3), Margarita (2-4) and Zulia (2-5) round out the board.

In Ponce, Puerto Rico, the local Leones had a 16-hit attack and Juan Padilla pitched seven scoreless innings for a 7-1 win over the Gigantes de Carolina, good enough to keep them in first place in the semifinal round robin playoff of the Puerto Rico Baseball League.

Padilla (2-0) allowed five hits and struck out four. Alex Cintron had four hits, including a home run, and two runs batted in. William Collazo (0-2) was charged with the loss.

Criollos de Cagus won their third game in a row, edging Senadores de San Juan 4-3, who had in turn lost three in a row. Orlando Roman (1-0) was the winning pitcher while Mario Alvarez (0-2) was the loser.

Ponce leads the playoff race with a 5-2 record, while Caguas has 4-3, San Juan (3-4) and Carolina (2-5) round out the standings.

Mexico's Pacific Mexican League semifinal round will start Saturday with two games: Caneros de los Mochis will visit Yaquis de Ciudad de Obregon, and Algodoneros de Guasave will face Tomateros de Culiacan. Both series will be played using the best of seven format.