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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: Ronald Acuña Jr. second-youngest to join 30-30 club

Ronald Acuna Jr.
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Braves 21-year-old outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. nabbed his 30th stolen base of the season on Friday, becoming the second-youngest player in Major League history to produce at least 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in a single season. Per MLB Stats, the only other player under 22 years old to pull off the feat is Mike Trout, who did so with 30 home runs and 49 stolen bases during his age-20 season in 2012.

Acuña’s triumphant moment came in the eighth inning of Friday’s game against the Mets. He drew a six-pitch walk against righty reliever Seth Lugo, then waited for an opportune moment as Ozzie Albies stepped to the plate. Lugo fired a 93-m.p.h. fastball to Albies for ball no. 2, which was promptly returned to second base by catcher Wilson Ramos. The throw came in high, however; Amed Rosario had to jump to make the catch, allowing Acuña to slide safely into the bag and hit his career mark.

It’s been an eventful season for the All-Star outfielder, whose 36 home runs and 30 stolen bases helps pad a .294/.377/.536 batting line and 5.1 fWAR over 597 plate appearances. Through the first 11 innings of Friday’s contest, he went 0-for-3 with a pair of walks and a stolen base.