Puerto Rico blanks Spain 3-0

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A three-spot in the bottom of the first was all Puerto Rico needed to defeat Spain in a battle of Pool C contestants in the World Baseball Classic. Carlos Beltran doubled to score Angel Pagan, Mike Aviles hit a sacrifice fly to score Alex Rios, and Carlos Rivera walked with the bases loaded to plate Beltran in a shaky opener for Spain pitcher Sergio Perez.

From there, the offense subsided at Hiram Bithorn Stadium. Puerto Rico’s Giancarlo Alvarado threw four scoreless innings and Hiram Burgos four and two-thirds, the duo holding Spain to a meager five hits — all singles — while striking out seven and walking one. Xavier Cedeno came on with two outs in the ninth, striking out Salomon Manriquez looking to close out the game. None of Puerto Rico’s hitters logged more than one hit, but the team drew five walks and stole four bases in an attempt to generate offense.

Spain’s Perez rebounded with a scoreless second before giving way to Richard Salazar, who tossed an impressive five innings of scoreless baseball. Edgar Gonzalez and Ricardo Hernandez combined for a scoreless eighth inning.

Puerto Rico joins the Dominican Republic at 1-0 in Pool C while Spain drops to 0-1 with Venezuela. Spain plays the DR tomorrow at 11 AM ET while Puerto Rico will play Venezuela later in the evening.

Video: Albert Almora, Jr. saved by the ivy

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The ALCS had a weird play in Game 4 on Tuesday night, but Game 4 of the NLCS did as well. This one involved Cubs outfielder Albert Almora, Jr. and his attempt to spark a rally in the bottom of the ninth inning against Dodgers reliever Ross Stripling.

After Alex Avila singled, Almora ripped a double to left field, past a diving Enrique Hernandez. The ball rolled to the ivy in front of the wall. Most outfielders there would’ve put their hands up, which would have alerted the umpires to call an immediate ground-rule double. Hernandez didn’t, instead fishing the ball out and firing it back into the infield. Avila had stopped at third base, but Almora kept running. Much to his surprise, he pulled up into third base to see his teammate standing there, resigned to his fate as a dead duck. Third baseman Justin Turner applied the tag on Almora for what he thought was the first out of the inning.

Almora, however, was then sent back to second base after the umpires correctly called a ground-rule double.

Unfortunately for the Cubs, the lucky break didn’t help as closer Kenley Jansen came in and took care of business, retiring all three batters he faced without letting an inherited runner score. The Dodgers won 6-1 and now lead the NLCS three games to none. They’ll try to punch their ticket to the World Series on Wednesday.