The Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico faced off to see who would get the #1 seed out of Pool 2 heading into the Championship Round in San Francisco. With a blast from Carlos Santana and six shutout innings by Wandy Rodriguez, the Dominican Republic shut down Puerto Rico to win the pool.
Pool 2 – Miami, Florida
Puerto Rico 0, Dominican Republic 2
The Pittsburgh Pirates Wandy Rodriguez was superb on Saturday night. Rodriguez tossed six shutout innings allowing only two hits. In six innings, he faced only two batters over the minimum to pick up the win.
In the first two innings Rodriguez walked the lead off hitter, but then immediately erased the runners by getting the next batter to ground into a double play.
The only time Puerto Rico really threatened was in the third inning. Carlos Rivera led off the inning with a single. After Irving Falu pinch-ran, he stole second base and moved to third on a throwing error by catcher Carlos Santana. Rodriguez then got Andy Gonzalez looking on a backdoor breaking ball for a called third strike.
Then the play of the game that kept Puerto Rico off the scoreboard. With a drawn in infield, Jesus Feliciano hit a ground ball to shortstop Erick Aybar‘s right. Aybar made a great play ranging a few steps to his right. Then, while on the move, he made a nice one hop throw to the plate to nail Falu for the second out of the inning.
Orlando Roman pitched well for Puerto Rico, but wound up on the short end of things taking the loss. He pitched five innings giving up just one run on two hits. One of the hits came in the fifth inning. Leading off the inning, Carlos Santana hit a bomb to right field on a 2-2 breaking ball.
All in all, there wasn’t much offense in the game. Both teams combined for only nine hits.
The Dominican Republic picked up an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth. With one out, Erick Aybar and Robinson Cano singled setting up runners at the corners. Miguel Tejada was unable to drive in the run popping out to the shortstop. Next up came Francisco Pena. With Cano running on the pitch, Pena found the hold vacated by the second baseman and drove in the run from third.
Fernando Rodney came in to pitch the ninth picking up the save.
The win sets up the Championship Round match ups. On Sunday night Puerto Rico (#2 seed from Pool 2) will face off with two-time defending champion Japan (#1 seed from Pool 1). Monday will feature the Netherlands (#2 seed from Pool 1) against the Dominican Republic (#1 seed from Pool 2).
Tags: World Baseball Classic