Dominicans dump Spain in World Classic
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AFP) –
Carlos Santana smacked a home run and Robinson Cano went 3-for-5 to spark the Dominican Republic over Spain 6-3 on Saturday in a Group C first-round matchup at the World Baseball Classic.
Santana and Nelson Cruz each drove in two runs for the Dominicans, who improved to 2-0 in round-robin play. They will take a second-round berth if Puerto Rico beats Venezuela later Saturday or by beating Puerto Rico on Sunday.
The Dominicans, featuring an all-star selection of Major League Baseball veteran talent, were ousted in the first round of the 2009 Classic and have something to prove this time.
“I believe these guys are on a mission,” Dominican Republic manager Tony Pena said. “They do not want to waste a single moment.”
Cruz singled in the game’s first run in the second inning, then took second base when the Spaniards tried to throw out Edwin Encarnacion at home plate and scored himself on a Ricardo Nanita single to double the Dominicans’ lead.
The Dominican Republic made it 5-0 with three runs in the third inning. New York Yankee slugger Cano doubled in a run and scored himself on a Cruz single. Encarnacion walked and later scored on a Santana ground out.
Spain scored in the seventh inning on an error by Cano off a bunt by Engel Beltre but Santana answered with a solo homer in the eighth for the Dominicans.
In the ninth, Spain scored on a Yasser Gomez single and pulled within 6-3 when Dominican relief pitcher Fernando Rodney walked Barbaro Canizares with the bases loaded.
That brought the potential winning run for Spain to the plate in Rafael Alvarez, but Rodney struck him out to end the game.
The Spaniards, 0-2, must hope Venezuela and the Dominicans will defeat Puerto Rico and they can in turn beat Venezuela on Sunday to have any hope of advancing.
Two Group D games later Saturday in Phoenix, Arizona, will send Mexico against Canada and the United States against unbeaten Italy, the European champions who can clinch a second-round berth with a victory.
The two top teams from each group advance to next week’s second round at Miami. Two clubs will advance from Miami to join two from Tokyo in semi-finals March 17-18 at San Francisco, where the final will be played on March 19.