Team Puerto Rico fans jubilant as team records first perfect game in World Baseball Classic history against Team Israel: "Dominicana is next"

World Baseball Classic Pool D: Puerto Rico v Israel
Jose De Leon #87 of Puerto Rico throws a pitch

Puerto Rico recorded its first perfect game in the World Baseball Classic with a 10-0 defeat by Israel on Monday night in Miami, Fla. Jose De Leon started for Puerto Rico and held Israel hitless through 5-2/3 innings while recording 10 strikeouts on 64 pitches in the Pool D contest.

De Leon came off the mound with two outs in the sixth with a broad smile as he was hugged by teammates. Three relievers, including New York Mets closer Edwin Diaz, Duane Underwood Jr., and Yaksel Rios, kept Israel off the basepath as Puerto Rico closed in on a Mercy Rule victory.

Puerto Rico scored three runs in each of the first, second, and fifth innings, but were unable to push across the 10th run to finish off Israel via the Mercy Rule until Enrique Hernandez singled home Anthony Maldonado with the deciding run to end the game in the bottom of the eighth.

As Maldonado crossed the plate, Puerto Rico erupted into a rapturous celebration both on the field and in the stands from a staunchly partisan crowd clad in red, white, and blue.

Israel did not take the result well. The loss dropped the team to 1-1 in the tournament after their World Baseball Classic-opening win over Nicaragua. The good news for Israel is that since the game ended early due to the Mercy Rule, it will not officially count as a perfect game.

Monday's resounding victory sets up a crucial matchup in Pool D as Puerto Rico takes on pre-World Baseball Classic tournament favorite Dominican Republic. The Dominicans and Puerto Rico both lost to pool leader Venezuela, who now have a 3-0 record and will likely take first place in pool play.

Puerto Rico second baseman Javy Baez went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs scored, reminding Detroit Tigers fans what he is capable of when playing in a festive atmosphere and not in Motown's baseball mausoleum.

Puerto Rico makes World Baseball Classic history

Pitchers Yacksel Rios #75, Jose De Leon #87, Edwin Diaz #39 and Duane Underwoond Jr. #56 pose for a photo after throwing a combined no-hitter against Israel
Pitchers Yacksel Rios #75, Jose De Leon #87, Edwin Diaz #39 and Duane Underwoond Jr. #56 pose for a photo after throwing a combined no-hitter against Israel

Of De Leon's performance, Puerto Rico manager Yadier Molina told MLB.com:

"He's worked so hard to be in this position. Pitch for your country. Pitch in front of your family. I mean, to have this, it's amazing."

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