Dominican Republic completes perfect run to claim WBC title

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty ImagesDominican Republic players celebrate after the final out was recorded Tuesday night at AT&T Park.

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty ImagesDominican Republic players celebrate after the final out was recorded Tuesday night at AT&T Park.

The Dominican Republic played through a steady rain at AT&T Park on Tuesday night to claim its first World Baseball Classic title by beating Puerto Rico 3-0.

The Dominican pitching staff continued its dominating performance in the tournament as the team completed a perfect 8-0 record, the first time that has been accomplished in the WBC. The Dominicans shut out Puerto Rico for the second time in the tournament, following up a 2-0 win on Saturday during the second round in Miami.

Manager Tony Pena said the team was savoring the experience.

“We are enjoying, and we will enjoy, every single moment,” he said.

Second baseman Robinson Cano echoed the sentiment when asked about returning to spring training later this week.
“I’ll tell you one thing,” he said. “Tonight, we’re gonna celebrate. Tomorrow, we’re going to celebrate. And Thursday, we’ll worry about spring training.”

Shortstop Jose Reyes said this title has been a long time coming for a country that has produced countless major-league stars over the past several decades.

“We have to understand,” he said, “this is the third Classic. Thank God we’re finally able to accomplish what everyone wanted and expected of the D.R., which was a trophy as champions. We did it all together.”

Puerto Rico’s bats never got going against starter Samuel Deduno or four Dominican relievers. They scattered three hits and four walks, allowing only three baserunners past first base. Deduno allowed two hits in five innings while striking out five and walking three.

The rain had all but stopped by the time Fernando Rodney pitched around an error by third baseman Miguel Tejada for a scoreless ninth to extend his all-time WBC saves record to eight, earning saves in seven of the Dominicans’ eight wins in 2013.

Their bullpen did not allow a run in 20²?³ innings over their past five games of the tournament.

The Dominican offense struck early, as Reyes led off the bottom of the first with a double, leading to an intentional walk to Cano — who earned tournament MVP honors with a .469 batting average — two batters later.

First baseman Edwin Encarnacion made Puerto Rican starter Giancarlo Alvarado pay by lining a ball into Triples Alley for a two-run double. Aybar would add another RBI on a fifth-inning double that scored Alejandro De Aza.

Alvarado was replaced by Hiram Burgos to start the second inning. Burgos allowed one run in ?4²?³ innings, striking out five and walking one.

Puerto Rico manager Edwin Rodriquez said that despite the disappointing finish, he still felt they accomplished something in this tournament.

“We put Puerto Rico on the map, the baseball map, again,” he said. “Professional organized baseball is looking toward Puerto Rico again as a positive source of development of young players.”

NOTE: The eighth inning started with Dominican reliever Santiago Casilla issuing a five-pitch walk to Giants teammate Angel Pagan. The pair greeted each other with a hug after the game. Casilla earned a hold with a scoreless inning, while Pagan finished the day 1-for-3.

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