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Dominican Republic defeats Canada 9-2 in World Baseball Classic

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Team Dominican Republic defeated Team Canada 4-1 on Thursday evening to open up Pool C play. Carlos Martinez got the start for the Dominican Republic and pitched four strong innings, yielding one unearned run on three hits with no walks and three strikeouts on 58 pitches.

The D.R. jumped out to an early 4-0 lead with a four-run second inning. Nelson Cruz led off with a double, moved to third base on an Adrian Beltre ground out, then scored on a Gregory Polanco single. Welington Castillo then followed up with a two-run home run to the opposite field at Marlins Park off of Team Canada starter Ryan Dempster. The rally continued, however, as Jose Reyes singled. After Manny Machado popped out, Robinson Cano singled to push Reyes to third, and Jose Bautista brought Reyes home with a single.

Canada got on the board in the third when Jonathan Malo reached on a Reyes error and advanced to second. He moved to third on a Dalton Pompey ground out, then scored when home plate umpire Dan Iassogna called Martinez on a balk.

Hansel Robles took over for Martinez in the fifth. He yielded a leadoff single to Pete Orr, who came around to score Canada’s second run on a one-out double to left-center by Pompey.

The D.R. immediately struck back for a run in the bottom half of the fifth against Jim Henderson. Bautista led off with a single and Carlos Santana doubled to deep center, but a great relay from Pompey to Jonathan Malo to George Kottaras nailed Bautista at the plate. Henderson, however, walked Nelson Cruz, then gave up an RBI single to Adrian Beltre, pushing the score to 5-2.

Jose Bautista broke the game wide open in the sixth, demolishing a three-run home run to left field off of Dustin Molleken, who relieved Kevin Chapman after putting two runners on base. The D.R. tacked on one more in the seventh thanks to a throwing error by Pete Orr, pushing the lead to 9-2.

Alex Colome worked a scoreless seventh and Dellin Betances kept Canada off the board in the eighth. Fernando Rodney got two quick outs in the ninth before giving way to Jeurys Familia, who retired pinch-hitter Josh Naylor on strikes to end the game with a W for the Dominican Republic.

Pool C play continues on Friday evening as Colombia will take on the United States at 6 PM EST. Colombia will then match up with Canada on noon Saturday, followed by the U.S. taking on the D.R. at 6:30 PM EST.

Rob Manfred talks about playing regular season games in Mexico

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The new Collective Bargaining Agreement commits the players and the league to regular season games on foreign soil. Most of the focus of this has been on games in London, for which there has been a lot of activity and discussion.

Yesterday before the Astros-Tigers game in Houston, however, Commissioner Rob Manfred talked about playing games in Mexico. And not as just a one-off, but as a foot-in-the-water towards possible expansion:

Commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday that the time had come to play regular-season games in Mexico City as Major League Baseball weighs international expansion.

“We think it’s time to move past exhibition games and play real live ‘they-count’ games in Mexico,” Manfred said. “That is the kind of experiment that puts you in better position to make a judgement as to whether you have a market that could sustain an 81-game season and a Major League team.”

A team in Mexico could make some geographic sense and some marketing sense, though it’s not clear if there is a city that would be appropriate for that right now. Mexico City is huge but it has plenty of its own sports teams and is far away from the parts of the country where baseball is popular (mostly the border states and areas along the Pacific coast). At 7,382 feet, its elevation would make games at Coors Field look like the Deadball Era.

Monterrey has been talked about — games have been played there and it’s certainly closer — but it’s somewhat unknown territory demographically speaking. It’s not as big as Mexico City, obviously. Income stratification is greater there and most of the rest of Mexico than it is in the United States too, making projections of how much discretionary income people may spend on an expensive entertainment product like Major League Baseball uncertain. Especially when they have other sports they’ve been following for decades.

Interesting, though. It’s something Manfred has talked about many times over the years, so unlike so many other things he says he’s “considering” or “hasn’t ruled out,” Major League Baseball in Mexico is something worth keeping our eyes on.

 

Joc Pederson and Yasiel Puig had a brutal collision in right center field

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The score was tied in the top of the 10th inning in last night’s game between the Dodgers and the Cardinals. Yadier Molina was up to bat, facing Kenley Jansen and drove one to deep right center field.

Yasiel Puig was in full run for the ball as center fielder Joc Pederson ranged hard for it himself. Puig caught the ball, but not before slamming into Pederson. Both men went down, but Pederson went down harder, taking an elbow to the face from Puig before crashing head-first into the outfield wall.

Watch:

 

Pederson came out of the game, apparently bleeding from his head. There will be an update on his condition today.

UPDATE: Oops, there was an update last night: