Legends On Deck

WBC: Puerto Rico Beats DR To Improve to 4-0 In Classic

Puerto Rico entered their 2nd round opening game against the Dominican Republic in grand fashion, as they defeated the defending champs 3-1 in a game that was dominated mostly by great plays and timely hitting.

But the game wasn’t without drama as there were also some questionable calls by the umpires that even caused DR manager Tony Pena to get thrown out of the game for arguing called strikes.

The last time both teams faced each other was in the 2013 World Baseball Classic final when DR defeated Puerto Rico, while also finishing off a perfect classic at 8-0.

Both teams entered round 2 at 3-0, with DR looking to for a repeat and Puerto Rico looking to dethrone the champs.

In the top of the first inning, DR looked to take the advantage away from Puerto Rico as they loaded the bases with no one out.  But after a strikeout to Jose Bautista, Carlos Santana drove a line drive to right field, and Eddie Rosario fired the ball to catcher Yadier Molina to nab Jean Segura at the plate trying to score.  It was just an amazing play and possibly the turning point of the entire game in just the first inning.

Puerto Rico struck first in the bottom of the opening inning when Francisco Lindor scored ahead of a Yadier Molina‘s single. But DR would strike right back with a run in the top of the second on a solo shot from Nelson Cruz that seemed to be an interference by a fan, but the call was upheld and the game tied at 1-1.

After Cruz’s home run, the Puerto Rican pitching staff shut down the powerful DR line-up working out of jams to secure the lead as the Dominicans failed to score the rest of the game.

In the bottom of the fourth, Eddie Rosario hit an RBI ground-rule double over the right field fence scoring Javier Baez with the go ahead run. Then Molina struck again and launched a line drive over the left field fence to add an insurance run, putting Puerto Rico up 3-1.

In the top of the ninth, Edwin Diaz struck out Adrian Beltre for the first out, gave up a walk to Gregory Polanco bringing the tying run to the plate, but induced a pop out to third base off the bat of Welington Castillo and struck out Segura looking on a high fastball to end the game and improve Puerto Rico’s Classic record to 4-0, while DR dropped to 3-1.

There is still a possibility that both teams will meet again before the classic is over. But Puerto Rico now sits in the driver’s seat needing at least one win to advance to the Semi-Finals and two wins to definitely secure their spot.

These games have been exciting, amazing and just awesome. Still more games to come.


David Conde
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