Jeurys Familia

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Cruz, Polanco homer to lift Dominican Republic to 3-0 win

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SAN DIEGO (AP) The Dominican Republic took a step toward a repeat title in the World Baseball Classic thanks to impressive home runs by Nelson Cruz and Gregory Polanco.

The Dominicans also got some nice pitching in a 3-0 victory Thursday night that pushed Venezuela to the brink of elimination.

“We understand the importance of this game and what we had to do,” Nelson said after he hit his third homer of the tournament. “We woke up. We needed to start moving.”

The Dominican Republic (1-1) had won 11 straight WBC games until losing to Puerto Rico in the Pool F opener on Tuesday night.

Venezuela (0-2) fell victim to a United States comeback on Wednesday night.

The Americans play Puerto Rico on Friday night. On Saturday, Puerto Rico faces Venezuela and the Dominican Republic faces the United States. The top two teams advance to the semifinals at Dodger Stadium. The Pool F winner plays the Netherlands on Monday while the Pool F runner-up plays Japan on Tuesday. The championship game is Wednesday night.

Cruz homered to right off Arcenio Leon leading off the eighth. He hit a three-run homer off Andrew Miller in the eighth inning Saturday night to help the Dominicans rally for a 7-5 victory against the United States in the opening round in Miami.

“We get excited whenever we make a good play,” Cruz said. “That is how we grew up playing. We act like kids. Anytime we score a run, that is how we react.”

Robinson Cano hit an RBI single in the seventh.

Jhoulys Chacin (0-1), who signed with the Padres in December, locked into a duel with former Padres pitcher Edinson Volquez.

Chacin put runners on first and second with two outs in the third before punching out Jose Bautista. Chacin slapped his glove in celebration as he headed to the dugout.

But he still got the loss in his new home ballpark after he allowed Polanco’s homer to right leading off the fifth to break the scoreless tie.

Chacin reached his pitch count two batters later after walking Jose Reyes, leaving after allowing one run and three hits, striking out three and walking three.

“We’re going to have a difficult time if we don’t really tighten that piece up,” Venezuela manager Omar Vizquel said.

Dominican manager Tony Pena pulled Volquez after the Miami Marlins right-hander put runners on first and third with one out in the fifth. Fernando Abad (1-0) came on and got Ender Inciarte to ground into a double play.

“Volqy did a great job and there is no question we have a great bullpen,” Pena said. “And today I was going to use everybody.”

Volquez allowed four hits, struck out six and walked two. Jeurys Familia pitched the ninth for the save, allowing two bloop singles that put runners on the corners before striking out Alcides Escobar to end it.

After Volquez left, five relievers allowed only four baserunners.

Dominican third baseman Manny Machado made a great play to throw out Miguel Cabrera in the sixth. Machado backhanded the ball, spun and threw from deep in foul territory. First baseman Carlos Santana caught the throw and dove at first base, touching the bag with his glove just before Cabrera arrived.

“It’s nothing new,” Cruz said. “He’s one of the best third basemen in the league. He’s just unbelievable.”

Cabrera came out with stiffness in his back.

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).

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.