Behind solo home runs by Gregory Polanco and Nelson Cruz and strong pitching from Edinson Volquez and five relievers, the Dominican Republic shut out Venezuela 3-0 in the second round of the World Baseball Classic. The DR improves their record in the second-round round-robin pool to 1-1 and Venezuela falls to 0-2.
Volquez pitched 4.1 innings and allowed four hits and walked two while striking out six. Volquez exited with the game still scoreless and runners on first and third with one out after singles by Odubel Herrera and Robinson Chirinos. But Fernando Abad got Ender Inciarte to ground into a 6-4-3 double play to end the threat.
Polanco led off the bottom of the fifth with a solo home run off of Jhoulys Chacin.
In the sixth inning, this happened.
In the seventh inning, the Dominican Republic increased their lead to 2-0 on a two-out single by Robinson Cano off of Padres minor league pitcher Jose Castillo, scoring Welington Castillo. The lead became 3-0 when Cruz hit a solo home run to right field off of Tigers minor leaguer Arcenio Leon.
Venezuela was able to bring the tying run to the plate in the top of the ninth when Jose Altuve and Yangervis Solarte both hit bloop singles after two were out. But Mets closer Jeurys Familia struck out Alcides Escobar to end the game.
While the loss does not eliminate Venezuela, they need for the United States to beat both Puerto Rico tomorrow and the Dominican Republic on Saturday, as well as beating Puerto Rico themselves on Saturday. Then they need to qualify for the tiebreaker game on Sunday and win that as well.
For the Dominican Republic, a win over Team USA on Saturday would at worst qualify them for the tiebreaker game on Sunday. They could advance with a loss to Team USA as long as Team USA also beats Puerto Rico and then they could advance through Sunday’s tiebreaker game.