Dominican Republic defeats Puerto Rico, wins Pool C

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The Dominican Republic defeated Puerto Rico 4-2, earning first place in Pool C and the right to play Pool D winner Italy in the second round. They staked starter Wandy Rodriguez to a 1-0 lead in the first inning after stringing together three consecutive one-out singles, the RBI provided by Edwin Encarnacion.

Puerto Rico took the lead in the fourth. Alex Rios singled to lead off the inning, but Rodriguez retired Carlos Beltran to get the first out. At that point, though, Rodriguez had thrown 61 pitches, reaching the pitch count limit and had to be taken out. Lorenzo Barcelo entered in relief and immediately surrendered a two-run home run to Mike Aviles. Barcelo escaped the frame without any further damage.

Robinson Cano immediately tied the game in the top of the fifth, leading off with a solo home run. The D.R. would tack on two more runs, one in the sixth on an Alejandro De Aza double and one in the seventh on a Nelson Cruz ground out.

The Dominican Republic bullpen was lights out, holding Puerto Rico to three hits — all singles — in the final four frames. Fernando Rodney breezed through the ninth inning, retiring Aviles, Eddie Rosario, and Pedro Valdes for the save.

Puerto Rico will play Pool D runner-up United States.

Brandon Morrow injured his back taking off his pants

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The Cubs’ bullpen got into trouble in the ninth inning on Tuesday afternoon during the first game of a doubleheader. Justin Wilson started the inning with the Cubs leading 3-2, normally a situation for closer Brandon Morrow. Wilson issued a leadoff walk to Austin Barnes, then gave up a single to Justin Turner. Morrow wasn’t warming up, curiously. Wilson ended up giving up a go-ahead two-run double to pinch-hitter Kyle Farmer and the Cubs went on to lose 4-3.

We now know why Morrow wasn’t available. He says his back tightened up taking off his pants early Monday morning, MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reports. Morrow said, “It’s frustrating any time you can’t get out there, especially when you can’t go for something as stupid as taking your pants off.”

Morrow, 33, has been terrific in the closer’s role this season for the Cubs. He owns a 1.59 ERA with a 25/9 K/BB ratio in 22 2/3 innings. He is also not available for the back end of Tuesday’s doubleheader, but it sounds like he won’t need to go on the disabled list.