You could have excused Team Dominican Republic if they had decided to take this game off. After all, they had already clinched a spot in the final round and this game was played only to decide seeding. But whether out of professionalism, patriotic pride or simply a desire to put on a good show for the 25,846 fans in Miami, the Dominicans defeated Puerto Rico 2-0 on a three-hitter by Wandy Rodriguez and three relievers. The win kept the Dominican Republic as the only undefeated team in the tournament with a 6-0 record.
Rodriguez walked the Puerto Rican lead-off hitter in both of the first two innings, but erased both runners with double plays. The only real threat that Puerto Rico managed off of Rodriguez came in the third inning. After Carlos Rivera led off the inning with a single, he stole second base and advanced to third on a bad throw by Dominican catcher Carlos Santana. With a runner on third and no outs, Rodriguez struck out Andy Gonzalez, and then got Jesus Feliciano to hit a ground ball that shortstop Erick Aybar made a nice backhand stab on and he easily threw Feliciano out at the plate.
Puerto Rico starter Orlando Roman kept the high-powered Dominican offense off the board until the fifth inning when Carlos Santana hit a towering solo home run into the upper deck in right field. The Dominicans tacked on their second run in the eighth inning when Francisco Pena singled home Aybar.
Three Dominican pitchers, Jose Veras, Santiago Casilla and Fernando Rodney, each threw a scoreless inning to finish out the win.
Rodriguez got the win with his six shutout innings. He allowed two hits. Rodriguez walked two and struck out four. Roman took the loss in the game. He gave up only that one run on two hits over five innings. He walked two and struck out four.
Robinson Cano was named the MVP of the Miami pool. He was 5 for 12 with a home run in the three games.
With the win, the Dominican Republic gets Sunday off and will play the Netherlands in the second semi-final at 8 pm Central on Monday. Puerto Rico will face Japan tonight at eight in the first semi-final. The finals will be Tuesday night at the same time.
I'll post a preview and game thread of the Puerto Rico/Japan game an hour before game time. If you haven't seen Japan play yet, I urge that you check them out. I'd suggest you watch no matter what because it promises to be a great game, but the Japanese team has several players who will likely be playing in MLB in the very near future.