Dominican Republic beats Colombia 10-3 in 11 innings in WBC
Dominican Republic's Manny Machado (3) is met by Jean Segura, left, and Mel Rojas Jr., center, after scoring on a single hit by Jose Bautista during the third inning in a first-round game of the World Baseball Classic against Colombia, Sunday, March 12, 2017, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
MIAMI (AP) — Welington Castillo hit a tiebreaking two-run single in the Dominican Republic's seven-run 11th inning, sending his country to a 10-3 victory over Colombia in their final pool game of the World Baseball Classic on Sunday.
The defending champions, who were coming off a dramatic 7-5 victory over the United States on Saturday night, advanced to the second round Tuesday in San Diego. The Dominicans have won 11 straight in the tournament.
"Those guys gave us one heck of a battle," Dominican Republic manager Tony Pena said of Colombia.
Jose Bautista and Carlos Santana began the 11th as the designated runners at second and first base, part of the tournament tiebreaking rules. Mel Rojas Jr. advanced Bautista and Santana with a sacrifice bunt. Gregory Polanco was walked intentionally before Castillo sent a line drive into left-center off William Cuevas.
Jean Segura added a three-run double, and Carlos Santana singled in Robinson Cano to help close it out for the Dominicans. Added as a late replacement for the injured Hanley Ramirez, Segura went 3 for 5 in his first tournament appearance.
"I was very happy to be part of this great team," Segura said. "It is the greatest thing that has happened in my career."
Colombia had an opportunity to win the game in the bottom of the ninth when pinch-runner Oscar Mercado was called out at home while attempting to score on Reynaldo Rodriguez's fly ball to left. Colombia manager Luis Urrueta argued unsuccessfully that Castillo blocked Mercado's path to the plate as he caught Bautista's throw, and plate umpire Tripp Gibson ejected Rodriguez and outfielder Tito Polo during the dispute.
After the game, Urrueta said Gibson made the correct call.
"For me he was out, I don't see anything controversial," Urrueta said. "Maybe the emotions got to the players. That's normal. You cannot think we lost the game for that reason."
Enny Romero pitched a perfect 10th inning with two strikeouts for the win.
Manny Machado hit an RBI double in the third and scored on an error, helping the Dominican Republic to a 3-1 lead. But Colombia got one in the sixth on Mauricio Ramos' double, and Jorge Alfaro connected for a tying homer against Fernando Rodney in the eighth.
"We were 90 feet away from surprising the world and leaving the Dominicans with their mouths open," Urrueta said. "We did not win, but we won a lot inside and a lot of respect by the people."
Milwaukee right-hander Wily Peralta started for the Dominican Republic and pitched four innings of one-run ball. He struck out six and walked one.
Colombia's hopes of advancing to the second round depended on the United States-Canada result later Sunday. A three-way tiebreaker possibility exists if Canada defeats the United States in their final pool game.
"We truly demonstrated we can play baseball on the big stage against countries like the United States and the Dominican Republic," said Colombia reliever Ernesto Frieri, who pitched two scoreless innings. "For Colombian baseball, we made history. We didn't get the victory but to compete against world powers that says it all."
Nabil Crismatt, a right-hander from the New York Mets' organization, pitched three innings for Colombia. He allowed three runs, two earned, and three hits
Sunday's game attracted a crowd of 36,952 and was the first in the pool round at Marlins Park played under a closed roof. Overcast skies prompted the change.