Dominican Republic tops Puerto Rico for sixth straight WBC win
Miami, FL, United States (4E Sports) – Three relievers completed a three-hitter to help the unbeaten Dominican Republic top Puerto Rico 2-0 Saturday at the WBC.
Wandy Rodriguez (1-0), who pitched six innings, allowed two hits and departed with a 1-0 lead. He retired all five batters he faced with runners in scoring position, and the Puerto Ricans finished 0 for 8 in those situations.
Carlos Santana broke a scoreless tie for the Dominicans with his second home run in the fifth inning.
Fernando Rodney gave up a hit for the first time but earned his fifth save, extending his WBC record. Dominicans relievers lowered their ERA to 2.01, and the team improved to 6-0 in the tournament.
The Puerto Ricans couldn’t get their bats going. Their lone hits were a single by Carlos Rivera in the third inning, a double by Luis Figueroa leading off the fourth and a double by Mike Aviles with two out in the ninth.
“This is a triumph for all Dominicans anywhere in the world,” said Cano, who went 1 for 4 and is batting .417 in the tournament.
“We are a small nation, but with good foundation,” Santana said. “We have good ballplayers, and that is being proven here.”
Both teams had already qualified for the semifinals in San Francisco, and the game merely determined seedings, prompting the managers to rest their starters.
Puerto Rico plays two-time defending champion Japan on Sunday night, and the Dominicans face the Netherlands on Monday night, with the winners advancing to the championship game Tuesday.
The Dominicans were eliminated from the 2009 WBC when they lost twice to the Netherlands in a stunning first-round upset.
“We’re not thinking of the past; we’re thinking of the present,” Dominican manager Tony Pena said. “They’re going to be tough. We’re going to be tough also.”
Puerto Rico will face Japan for the first time.
“They’re the two-time champions of the WBC for a reason,” Puerto Rican manager Edwin Rodriguez said. “They know how to play the game, and they put a lot of emphasis on the little things. We’ll have to play an almost perfect game.”