Dominican Republic beats U.S. in the ninth to advance to WBC final four
The Dominican Republic’s national baseball squad strung together singles and stolen bases to break a tie in the ninth inning and beat the United States 3-1 in Miami.
In the double-elimination format of this round, the United States will play Puerto Rico Friday in an elimination game for a final spot in the WBC semi-finals in San Francisco. The Netherlands, Japan, and Dominican Republic are already set for the final four, and are awaiting the winner of tomorrow’s game.
Puerto Rico eliminated Italy Wednesday night to force a rematch with the United States, ESPN reports.
The game started tied through two innings, and stayed such until the ninth inning. It seemed as if Dominican starting pitcher Samuel Deduno would be in for a long night after he walked in a run in only the first inning. As it turned out, it was the only run he allowed in his outing.
Hanley Ramirez from the Dodgers hit a solo home run in the next half-inning to put the Dominicans on the board.
U.S. starter R.A. Dickey had a nice pick off at first that saved a run. Two-straight singles by Miguel Tejada and Robinson Cano would have scored the runner. Instead, Dickey ended the inning by catching a ball that was lined straight back at him in the following at bat.
Both starters only gave up one run apiece, and their bullpens held strong against each of the club’s powerful lineups.
Both bullpens held the game scoreless until the deciding point in the ninth inning. After arguing strike call with the home plate umpire, Erick Aybar singled to the very next pitch to bring in Nelson Cruz, who got into scoring position with a stolen base. Aybar stole second, and Jose Reyes drove him in with another single to pad the Dominican lead at 3-1 in the ninth.
Fernando Rodney was able to come out of the bullpen for the Dominicans in the bottom half to retire the side and earn the save.
According to USA Today, this was one of the better turnouts at Marlins Park, with an intense, split crowd of 34,366.