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. lays out to make a great catch in deep right-center field

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Cubs center fielder Albert Almora, Jr. robbed Giants first baseman Brandon Belt of at least a double in the top of the first inning of Monday’s game at Wrigley Field. Almora completely left his feet to catch the ball before landing just shy of the warning track.

The Giants took the early lead two batters prior to Belt’s at-bat as Joe Panik hit a solo home run to center field.

Anibal Sanchez accepts optional assignment to Triple-A

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The Tigers announced on Monday that pitcher Anibal Sanchez has accepted an optional assignment to Triple-A Toledo. Pitcher Warwick Saupold was recalled from Toledo to take Sanchez’s roster spot.

Sanchez, 33, continued to struggle this season pitching out of the bullpen. He gave up 26 runs (21 earned) on 34 hits and nine walks with 22 strikeouts in 21 innings. Nine of those 34 hits were home runs. Sanchez finished the 2015 season with a 4.99 ERA and last season with a 5.87 ERA, so he’s had a rough go of it in recent years.

The decision to go to Triple-A was Sanchez’s, Anthony Fenech of the Free Press reports. Sanchez wants to be stretched out as a starting pitcher again.