The Dominican Republic once again showed their dominance in the 2013 World Baseball Classic by defeating Puerto Rico in the Championship Game to claim their first title. They became the only team in the short history of the Classic to sweep through the Classic undefeated.
Championship – San Francisco, California
Puerto Rico 0, Dominican Republic 3
Sam Deduno was fantastic on Tuesday night in San Francisco as he led the Dominican Republic to the WBC title. Deduno tossed five shutout innings allowing just two hits in a game that looked like it might be shortened by rain.
Rain started falling early on and kept up for around an hour. But with it being the last game of the Classic, officials were eager to get it in. Fortunately, it never got bad enough to force a delay and it eventually cleared up.
The Dominican won again with great pitching and timely hitting and it all started with the young Deduno on the mound.
Deduno has only six wins in the big leagues, but he looked like a six-time All-Star on Tuesday night. In his five innings, he struck out five batters and some came in big moments.
In the top of the fifth inning, Deduno walked a pair of batters and with two outs faced one of the top hitters for Puerto Rico, Angel Pagan. This was one of the only times Puerto Rico threatened, but Deduno came up big. On a 2-2 pitch, he got Pagan to chase a breaking ball in the dirt for strike three.
A couple of batters earlier with a runner at second, Andy Gonzalez drove a ball to deep center field. In a full sprint and arm outstretched, Alejandro De Aza made a great running catch to save a run and keep Puerto Rico off the scoreboard.
After the big strikeout, Deduno showed his emotion raising his arms in the air and screaming. Pagan didn’t seem to take that too well as he was jawing at the Dominican pitcher as he walked back to the dugout.
The would be the end of the night for Deduno as he turned it over to a bullpen that was simply remarkable all through the Classic. Pedro Strop, Octavio Dotel, Santiago Casilla, Kevin Herrera, and Fernando Rodney had combined for 24 scoreless innings heading into the final game.
Dotel came on and gave up a hit and a walk in an inning of work. That would be the last hit Puerto Rico would get. Strop, Casilla, and Rodney would come in and dominate. Each pitched an inning of work with both Strop and Rodney, who earned the save, striking out a pair in their inning.
Giancarlo Alvarado got the start for Puerto Rico and he wasn’t as sharp as his counterpart. Alvarado lasted just an inning giving up two runs on on two hits to take the loss.
Jose Reyes led off the game for the Dominican with a double. After a sacrifice bunt by Erick Aybar, Alvarado intentionally walked the hottest hitter in the Classic, Robinson Cano. So with two on and one out, up came Toronto Blue Jays slugger Edwin Encarnacion, and it didn’t take him long to make them pay.
Alvarado fell behind and then Encarnacion unloaded on a fastball doubling into the right-center field gap. The ball got over center fielder Pagan’s head and all the way to the wall as Reyes and Cano came around to score on the play.
The Dominican would get an insurance run in the bottom of the fifth. De Aza reached on a bunt single and moved to second base on a Reyes ground out. Next up was Erick Aybar who had the big hit against Team USA, and he came through once again. After working the count a bit and fouling off a few pitches, Aybar hooked an outside pitch just past first baseman Carlos Rivera into the right field corner for a RBI double.
A three run lead for the Dominican bullpen was as good as gold the way they have been pitching. And that is exactly how it played out as Rodney struck out Luis Figueroa to end the game setting off the celebration.
Robinson Cano was named MVP of the 2013 Classic finishing the tournament hitting .469 (15 for 32). He hit four doubles, two home runs, scored six runs, and drove in six more. His 15 hits are a new Classic record.