Puerto Rico ends long win streak for Dominicans at WBC
Yadier Molina homers in rematch of 2013 title game
Yadier Molina homered and hit an RBI single to lead exuberant Puerto Rico to a 3-1 victory against the Dominican Republic in the second round of the World Baseball Classic on Tuesday night.
Eddie Rosario doubled in the go-ahead run in the fourth and also threw out a runner at the plate for Puerto Rico, which snapped the Dominicans' 11-game WBC winning streak.
It was a rematch of the 2013 WBC title game, which the Dominicans won 3-0 at San Francisco's AT&T Park.
"Facing a team like the Dominican Republic, the motivation was there for us," manager Edwin Rodriguez said. "We were waiting four years for this, and we played well offensively, defensively and on the mound."
The small but peppy crowd at Petco Park chanted, clapped, waved flags and banged cowbells throughout the game.
The Puerto Ricans responded with the joy of Little Leaguers. After right fielder Rosario threw out Jean Segura at the plate with a one-hopper to catcher Molina to end the top of the first, pitcher Orlando Roman jumped in the air while Molina punched the air in celebration. Teammates converged on Rosario and chest-bumped him so hard he fell down.
"The only way to play against the Dominican Republic is with passion and motivation," said Molina, the St. Louis Cardinals' star catcher. "They are an incredible team."
The Puerto Ricans won Pool D in Jalisco, Mexico.
Cruz homered for the Dominicans, who won Pool C in Miami before large, boisterous crowds.
Dominican manager Tony Pena was ejected after arguing a strike call in the eighth. He ran out and got into umpire Will Little's face, and then slipped and fell to the ground.