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Dominican Republic shuts down Venezuela 3-0

Dominican Republic shuts down Venezuela 3-0

Posted by PanamericanWorld on March 17, 2017

Chacin left a fastball over the plate for Gregory Polanco, who hit a leadoff homer in the fifth inning.

It proved to be the only run the Dominicans would actually need this night. Robinson Cano added an insurance run in the seventh with a run-scoring single and Nelson Cruz a solo homer in the bottom of the eighth. Yet, with the way the Dominican Republic was pitching this night, Polanco’s heroics were enough to stand up.

State of Pool F: It was a critical victory for the Dominican Republic, which was coming off its first defeat in eighth years, to Puerto Rico. The Dominicans now have an off-day where they can rest up before playing USA on Saturday night. A victory over USA could earn a berth in the finals once again, or at least guarantee a spot in a potential tiebreaker on Sunday. The loss likely eliminates Venezuela, which falls to 0-2. It’s hard to imagine that even an upset over Puerto Rico on Saturday would rescue them. They needed a tiebreaker victory over Italy to even get to the second round, but there likely won’t be any second chances this time. The winner of the USA-Puerto Rico game Friday night will be sitting pretty at 2-0.

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Pivot point: Team Venezuela had its best opportunity to score in the fifth inning when Odubel Herrera drew a leadoff walk, and after Alcides Escobar bunted him to second, Robinson Chirinos lined a single to left, putting runners on the corners. Dominican manager Tony Pena pulled starter Edinson Volquez, and called up left-handed reliever Fernando Abad to face leadoff hitter Ender Inciarte.

He fired a 93-mph fastball on the corner, and Inciarte hit a sharp grounder to shortstop Jose Reyes, who flipped the ball to Robinson Cano for the inning-ending double play.

The Dominican Republic, buoyed by the momentum, immediately capitalized when Polanco led off the bottom of the fifth with a homer to right-center on Chacin’s 93-mph fastball on a 3-1 count.

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Man of the momentPolanco, the Pittsburgh Pirates’ left fielder, is now hitting .571 in four games in the WBC, with a double and homer.

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Needing a mulligan: Inciarte. He had a chance to be the hero in the fifth inning. Venezuela had runners on the corners with one out, and all he needed was a sacrifice fly to break open the scoreless game.

Instead, he hit a tailor-made groundball to shortstop Reyes for an inning-ending double play, sealing Venezuela’s fate.

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