A quick recap of today’s World Baseball Classic action.
Behind a three-run home run off of Andrew Miller in the eighth inning, the Dominican Republic came back from a 5-0 deficit to beat Team USA in Pool C play.
In front of the largest (and very pro-Dominican) crowd in the history of Marlins Park, Team USA broke out to a 5-0 lead after 5½ innings. The first run scored in the third inning on a dropped fly ball by Starling Marte. Doubles by Giancarlo Stanton and Brandon Crawford in the sixth inning extended the US lead to 5-0.
Meanwhile, Marcus Stroman was terrific over 4⅔ scoreless innings.
The Dominican Republic started their comeback in the bottom of the sixth off with two runs off Tanner Roark, including a monster solo home run by Manny Machado for the Dominican Republic’s first run. David Robertson relieved Roark in the sixth and limited the damage.
The Dominican Republic is now 2-0 and faces Colombia. The United States will face Canada tomorrow, pretty much needing a win to advance.
In maybe the wildest WBC game ever, Venezuela kept their WBC hopes alive with an extra innings win over Italy.
Like Team USA, Italy blew a 5-0 lead in this game as well. They pounded starter Martin Perez for four runs in 3.2 innings. Alex Liddi homered for Italy off of Perez in the fourth inning and then Mets prospect Gavin Cecchini homered off of reliever Bruce Rondon.
Venezuela, who was held scoreless in the first 11 innings of their WBC campaign, took a 8-5 lead over Italy with three runs in the fifth inning, two in the sixth and three more in the seventh. But Italy tied the game in the seventh inning on a two-run single by catcher (and Venezuelan native) Francisco Cervelli and an RBI single by Iowa Cubs outfielder John Andreoli in the eighth.
People will be talking about the ninth inning for a long time. Venezuela took a 10-8 lead in the top of the inning on a two-run home run by Salvador Perez. But in the bottom of the inning, leadoff hitter Rob Segedin reached on an error by shortstop Alcides Escobar. He scored after two groundouts, but Venezuela still had a one-run lead, two outs, none on and Francisco Rodriguez on the mound.
Here’s where things got dramatic. Rodriguez gave up a single to Liddi and then walked Drew Butera. Cecchini then singled to center field and center fielder Ender Inciarte missed the cutoff man (or there wasn’t a cutoff man, it wasn’t clear) and Rodriguez caught the ball near the mound and fell to the ground. Butera, coming around from first, decided to make a break for home on the misplay with what would have been the winning run. But Rodriguez recovered enough to make an awkward throw to Perez behind the plate, which carried him into the path of Butera. Butera, who is Perez’s backup on the Royals, rolled awkwardly to try to avoid the tag and ended up rolling into Perez’s knee. Perez had to be helped off the field.
The tenth inning was less dramatic. Martin Prado doubled home Jose Altuve to give Venezuela the lead. For all the talent on Venezuela, it was Jose Castillo, who pitched for the Padres High-A affiliate in Lake Elsinore last season (and Fort Wayne as well), who came in and pitched a perfect bottom of the inning for the save.
Julio Teheran allowed just one run and two hits over five innings as Colombia won a game in the World Baseball Classic for the first time ever.
Shortstop Donovan Solano had a pair of RBI singles and his brother Jhonatan Solano walked in a run.
Francisco Lindor led Puerto Rico to an early lead with two home runs and Puerto Rico held off Mexico to go 2-0 in Pool D of the WBC.
Mexico scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to turn this into a 5-4 game, but Puerto Rico scored four two-out runs after Mexico catcher Xorge Carrillo dropped a foul pop for an error.
Three of those runs came on a tremendous home run by the Cubs’ Javier Baez.
Please note that Baez did not flip his bat. He gently placed the bat on the ground before circling the bases.
Former Cubs pitcher Jason Marquis allowed just one run on four hits over 5⅔ innings s Israel improved to 4-0 by winning the first game of the Tokyo semifinal.
Ryan Lavarnway tied the game with an RBI double in the fourth inning and Zach Borenstein broke the tie in the sixth. Josh Zeid pitched the final 1⅓ innings to get the save.