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Dominican Republic dominates USA with 7-5 finish in World Baseball Classic

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Team Dominican Republic secured their second win of the 2017 World Baseball Classic on Saturday, mounting a rally in the eighth inning to take the edge over Team USA, 7-5.

The USA jumped out to an early lead, capitalizing on a couple of fielding errors to score their first run in the third inning. Christian Yelich and Brandon Crawford contributed two RBI singles, padding the USA’s lead to 3-0 by the fifth inning.

In the sixth inning, Giancarlo Stanton muscled an RBI double off of right-hander Jumbo Diaz, then came home to score the USA’s sixth run when Crawford lashed an RBI double of his own off of left-hander Fernando Abad. The Dominican Republic finally responded in the bottom of the sixth inning, taking Tanner Roark deep with a Manny Machado home run and tacking on an extra run with Carlos Santana‘s RBI single.

From there, Team Dominican Republic held the USA hitless. Welington Castillo added an RBI double in the seventh inning, but it was the combined effort of Nelson Cruz and Starling Marte that carried the team to victory in the eighth inning. Cruz and Marte raked in four runs with back-to-back jacks against the indomitable Andrew Miller, cementing the Dominican Republic’s tenth consecutive victory in the World Baseball Classic.

With the loss, Team USA faces several interesting tie-breaker scenarios. Via Andrew Simon of MLB.com:

If Colombia upsets the Dominican Republic and the U.S. defeats Canada, the first three would be 2-1, with Canada eliminated. The tiebreaker rules would determine which team would head to San Diego for the second round — beginning next Tuesday — and which two would battle it out in a tiebreaker game on Monday at 6 p.m. ET in Miami.

However, if the D.R. wins and the U.S. loses, the Dominicans would advance at 3-0. In that case, the tiebreaker rules would determine which 1-2 teams would get to play the tiebreaker game to advance, while the third would be eliminated.

Team Colombia and Team Dominican Republic are currently knotted 3-3 in extra innings. Team USA is scheduled to face off against Team Canada on Sunday evening at 7 PM EDT.

The Red Sox are calling up Rafael Devers

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Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports that the Red Sox are calling up third base prospect Rafael Devers. He’ll be in Seattle for the start of the three-game set between the Sox and Mariners.

Devers, 20, is the top prospect in the Boston system according to MLB Pipeline. He has spent most of his season with Double-A Portland, where he hit .300/.369/.575 with 18 home runs and 56 RBI in 320 plate appearances. He was promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket after the All-Star break. In eight games with Pawtucket, Devers hit .355/.412/.581 with two home runs and four RBI.

There is still just over a week until the non-waiver trade deadline, but perhaps the Red Sox seem confident Devers can be the answer to the third base problem.

Stephen Strasburg exited Sunday’s start with an apparent injury

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It’s not a good day if you’re a star starting pitcher. First Clayton Kershaw, now Stephen Strasburg. The Nationals’ right-hander lasted only two innings in Sunday’s start against the Diamondbacks, leaving with an apparent injury. Strasburg held the D-Backs to a hit and three walks with two strikeouts without allowing a run. Matt Grace relieved him in the third inning.

Including Strasburg’s two innings on Sunday, he’s carrying a 3.25 ERA with a 141/37 K/BB ratio in 121 2/3 innings.

The Nationals should pass along word on Strasburg’s condition shortly.