Puerto Rico advanced to the World Baseball Classic quarterfinals on Wednesday and finished second in Group D by beating the Dominican Republic 5-2, which ended up eliminated.
On Saturday, in the round of the best eight and for a spot in the semifinal, Puerto Rico will face Mexico, leader of group C, at LoanDepot Park in Miami.
Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic met for the sixth time in a World Classic, and with tonight’s victory, the Puerto Ricans equaled the record of their confrontations at 3-3.
Both teams reached the last date of Group D with two wins and one loss against Venezuela, the undisputed and undefeated leader of the area, and that will be measured on Friday in Miami with the second in Group C, which is defined tonight after the game between the United States and Colombia.
Pitchers Fernando Cruz opened the ‘Caribbean Classic’ in the Miami diamond for the Puerto Rican ninth and Johnny Cueto for the Dominicans.
Yadier Molina’s team showed this Wednesday that it was willing to dominate its Caribbean rival by displaying all its power with four runs in the third inning.
The first came when Christian Vázquez stunned Cueto with a home run to left field.
After that drive, Cuerto got out of control, and manager Rodney Linares gave the ball to Bryan Abreu, World Series champion with the Astros, who faced Francisco Lindor with men on first and second.
And the ‘Team Rubio’ did not stop. Machín, Maldonado, and Lindor scored against Abreu to make it 4-0 on the scoreboard.
Linares’s team responded in the bottom of the third inning with a solo home run by Juan Soto to make it 4-1.
The fifth “scratch” for those from Isla del Encanto came in the fifth inning with captain Lindor, who scored with a field home run after an error by Dominican center fielder Julio Rodríguez.
Francisco Mejía closed the gap to three runs by scoring the second for the Dominican Republic after being driven by a ground ball from Manny Machado. Thus he left things 5-2.
The winning pitcher of the commitment was Fernando Cruz, and the loser was Johnny Cueto.
Now, Puerto Rico will prepare to face off this Saturday against Mexico for a place in the tournament’s semifinal.