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Dominican Republic advances in WBC after outlasting Colombia in 11 innings

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It needed 11 innings, but Team Dominican Republic was able to outlast Team Colombia 10-3 in 11 innings during Sunday afternoon’s World Baseball Classic contest, earning them the right to move on to the next round.

Both teams plated a run in the first. Jose Bautista hit a sacrifice fly in the top half for D.R. and Giovanny Urshela singled in a run in the bottom half for Colombia. In the second, the D.R. took a 3-1 lead on a Manny Machado double followed by Bautista reaching on a fielding error.

Colombia struck back for a run in the sixth on a Mauricio Ramos double. Jorge Alfaro then tied the game in dramatic fashion in the bottom of the eighth with a solo home run to left field off of Fernando Rodney.

Colombia very nearly won the game in the bottom of the ninth, which would have put them in a tie with the D.R. in Pool C standings. The club put its first two runners on base when Jhonatan Solano singled and Tito Polo was hit by a pitch. Donovan Solano hit what looked like a 6-4-3 ground ball double play, but shortstop Jean Segura was only able to get the out at second as Jonathan Villar made a slightly off-target throw to first. Reynaldo Rodriguez then hit a line drive to shallow center field. Jose Bautista caught the ball on the fly, then fired home to catcher Welington Castillo. The ball took two hops and Castillo, in one motion, snagged the ball and applied the tag to pinch-runner Oscar Mercado for the final out of the inning.

The play was close enough that Team Colombia thought it had won the game, but home plate umpire Tripp Gibson made the right call. He wound up ejecting Polo and Rodriguez with what was truly an itchy trigger finger.

Neither team scored in the 10th inning, sending the game to the 11th where the rules change a bit. The D.R. started with runners on first and second base and it proved to be the catalyst for a rally. Mel Rojas, Jr. laid down a sacrifice bunt to move both runners up a base. Colombia walked Gregory Polanco to load the bases. And then… the floodgates opened. Castillo singled in two runs to make it 5-3. Villar walked to re-load the bases. Jean Segura doubled to deep center field to clear the bases, upping the lead to 8-3. After Manny Machado popped up for the second out, Robinson Cano reached on a fielding error, plating Segura. Bautista singled to put runners on first and third, and Santana then singled Cano home. After a seven-run top of the 11th inning, the D.R. led 10-3.

Colombia, of course, also started the bottom of the 11th with runners on first and second base, but it couldn’t capitalize in similar fashion. With Jeurys Familia on the mound, Adrian Sanchez and Mauricio Ramos both struck out. Mercado then grounded out to third base to end the game.

The D.R. has advanced to Pool F after going 3-0 in Pool C. They’re headed to Petco Park San Diego, which will open up play on Tuesday. Colombia is now 1-2 and waits to see what happens between the United States (1-1) and Canada (0-2).

Video: Jaime Garcia hits a 399-foot grand slam

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Jaime Garcia has been at the center of trade talks for several days now, but on Friday night, he commanded center stage for an entirely different reason. The Braves’ southpaw went head-to-head with Dodgers’ lefty Alex Wood and mashed his first career grand slam: a two-out, 399-foot blast that cleared the wall in right field and put the Braves up 9-0 in the fifth inning.

The bases-loaded knock was the third career home run for Garcia, whose contributions at the plate have been few and far between over his nine-year track in the major leagues. Not only did the homer mark an impressive career first for the 30-year-old, but it was just the second pitcher grand slam in Braves’ history and the first since 1966.

Garcia looked almost as impressive on the mound during Friday’s series opener, issuing one run, four hits and three strikeouts through his first six innings. The Braves currently lead the Dodgers 12-1 in the top of the seventh inning.

As for whether the slam will affect negotiations between the Braves and Twins? MLB.com’s Mike Petriello put it best:

Ryon Healy exits game after taking a ground ball to the face

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Athletics’ first baseman Ryon Healy had a scary moment during Friday’s loss to the Mets. Lucas Duda smacked a single to the first base side, where the ball took a high hop and caught Healy in the left temple. He crumpled to the ground after getting struck by the one-hopper, but was eventually able to stand and walk off the field with assistance from a trainer.

Prior to the injury, Healy went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI single in the first inning. He was replaced by Yonder Alonso, who finished off the rest of the night’s 7-5 loss with a walk in two plate appearances.

Following the game, manager Bob Melvin told reporters that Healy did not appear to have sustained a concussion as a result of the hit. Healy said he thinks he’ll be good to go for Saturday’s game, though a final decision likely won’t be made until tomorrow.