Dominicans outslug Italy in WBC
Albert Pujols, Adrian Beltre and Moises Alou hit home runs to lift the Dominican Republic to an 8-3 victory over Italy at the World Baseball Classic on Thursday.
The Dominican Republic improved to 2-0 in Pool D, having defeated Venezuela in the tournament opener, and conclude round-robin play Friday against Australia.
"You look at that lineup, it's an all-star lineup at every position," Italian manager Matt Galante said.
"It doesn't matter if a guy's making $500,000, or $10 million or $5 million, everybody's the same," Pujols explained. "We know we're here to win games, to represent our countries."
Pujols delighted the pro-Dominican crowd of 9,949 at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex by going 3-4 at the plate, driving in two runs and scoring twice.
"This is exciting," he said. "There is a lot of talent in the locker-room."
Italy (1-2) finished with consecutive losses following a 10-0 victory over the Australians.
"We knew that we were facing a pretty good team," Pujols said. "We just tried to not take this game for granted.
"The last thing you want to do is do something stupid out there and don't play the game hard. You don't want to build any bad reputations."
The Dominicans trailed 3-2 until Pujols smacked a two-run homer off Tony Fiore in the bottom of the third inning.
Fiore surrendered four runs - two earned - on five hits and three walks in 2 2/3 innings pitched.
Beltre, who homered twice against the Venezuelans, hit a three-run shot off Riccardo De Santos in the fifth to make it 7-3.
Alou completed the scoring with a solo homer off Alessandro Maestri in the seventh.
"It's very difficult to pitch around one guy when you see Moises on deck, or (David) Ortiz on deck or Beltre on deck," Galante said. "It's a very difficult thing."
Dominican starter Odalis Perez earned the win, despite giving up three runs and four hits over three innings.
Perez struck out three batters and walked one.
Jorge Sosa replaced him and tossed four innings of one-hit relief with four strikeouts.
Frank Catalanotto of the Toronto Blue Jays led the Italians with two hits and two runs batted in.
with files from Sports Network