In the battle between two of the hottest teams in Pool F in San Diego, Puerto Rico defeated Dominican Republic 3-1 handing the Dominican its first loss dating back to the 2009 World Baseball Classic.
In a rematch of the 2013 Championship, Puerto Rico rewrote the ending led by the ageless Yadier Molina. Molina did it all in the game. He hit a solo home run in the 6th inning giving Puerto Rico a 3-1 lead that it would hold onto. He also drove in the first run of the game with a single to left, and he threw out a runner at a pivotal time late in the game.
With 2 outs in the top of the 8th inning, Nelson Cruz walked putting the tying run at the plate for the Dominican. At the plate would be Adrian Beltre. Perhaps trying to get things moving in the right direction, Beltre is hitting 0.091 during this WBC, Cruz set off for second base. The play will be one that will go down in WBC history as a fan favorite for a long long time. Cruz was out by so much that Javier Baez never even looked while making the tag and started celebrating before he made the tag. It is something you just have to see.
But that might not have been the biggest play of the game. In the top of the 1st inning, the Dominican Republic loaded the bases with nobody out. Jean Segura led off with a single. He was followed by a Manny Machado double, and then a Robinson Cano walk. It did not look good for Puerto Rico. After getting Jose Bautista to strike out, Carlos Santana lined into one of the best double plays of the WBC.
Santana flew out to right fielder Eddie Rosario who then threw a one hop strike to Molina at the plate to double up Segura trying to tag up and score. Molina and Puerto Rico erupted in celebration and the play seemed to not only excite the Puerto Rico dugout, but at the same time showed the Dominican Republic they were vulnerable.
Nelson Cruz accounted for the only Dominican run with a solo blast in the 2nd inning.
Carlos Martinez pitched well even though he took the loss. He went 4.0 innings giving up just 2 runs, 1 earned, on 3 hits.
Gregory Polanco was the only Dominican hitter with more than 1 hit. He doubled and stole a base.
Eric Bynum is Managing Editor here at BaseballdeWorld. He spent three years as an ESL teacher in South Korea, and is now working on his master's degree in history with a focus on baseball and WWII. He has played and/or written about baseball for the past 30 years and is an avid Atlanta Braves fan.