The Dominican Republic stayed perfect on Tuesday night at AT&T Park, as the team finished off Puerto Rico with a 3-0 score to win the championship game of the World Baseball Classic.
After unseating Japan, who were the two-time defending champs, the Dominicans were just too good, as they outscored opponents 36-14 en route to the championship. New York Yankee second baseman Robinson Cano, who hit .469 with 2 homeruns, six RBI and four doubles, was named the tournament’s MVP.
"This is something that you never are going to get it done by yourself," Cano said. "So I want to thank the guys, my teammates, the manager, also the Dominican team for giving me that opportunity to be here with all these guys, all this great talent. And it's like I said, without my teammates, I would have never won an MVP. So I would say it's not only me, it's about the whole team. We proved that (throughout the tournament) and in this game."
After downing Puerto Rico in the top of the first inning, the Dominican team got things going with a Jose Reyes lead-off double, who then moved to third on a sacrifice bunt from Erick Aybar. After Cano was intentionally walked, Edwin Encarnacion got a standup double, scoring both Reyes and Aybar for the quick 2-0 lead.
With the rain suddenly coming down by the start of the fourth inning, the fans began to spread out, but remained pumped up for the game, with an announced 35,703 attendance. In the bottom of the fifth, Alejandro De Aza bunted his way onto first and reached second on a fielder’s choice. A standup double from Aybar then scored Aza, giving the Dominicans a 3-0 lead.
For Puerto Rico, things were dire, as the Dominican pitching staff, was simply lights out, with Samuel Deduno going five inning strong, giving up only 2 hits, 3 walks and striking out 5. In fact, the team’s best performer of the night was SF Giant Angel Pagan, who went 1 for 3 with a walk. The Dominican bullpen was even tougher, surrendering only a single hit and had not given up a run in over 22 innings coming into the game.
It was a brutal night for Puerto Rico, without much offense and a third straight loss to the Dominican Republic in the tournament.
"This win is all about the people of the Dominican Republic," said a jubilant Jose Reyes after the game. "They were hungry waiting for this moment and we did it. We gave everything that we have and we left it all on the field."