Puerto Rico has defeated the team from the Netherlands on an 11-inning sacrifice fly from Eddie Rosario to reach the final of the 2017 World Baseball Classic. It is the second tournament in a row in which the island’s team reaches the final, having lost the championship to the team from the Dominican Republic in the 2013 tournament (0-3). It now awaits the winner of the second semi-final between Japan and the United States, which will be played tomorrow.
Puerto Rico remains undefeated in the tournament.
The game was not without its excitement, as the first inning can only be described as whacky. Here’s the description from CBS Sport.
The top of the first inning was pretty eventful for the Netherlands. The first two batters, Andrelton Simmons and Xander Bogaerts, reached base on an infield single and a hit-by-pitch, respectively. Puerto Rico catcher Yadier Molina then caught Simmons wandering too far off second base with a snap throw for the first out. Yikes, that’s bad.
But wait! It gets worse. Jurickson Profar followed with a single to put men on the corners, but after reaching first base, he turned around to celebrate with his teammates and pump up his dugout, and was tagged out. Seriously. Check it out:
After all that, Puerto Rico righty Jorge Lopez still had yet to retire a batter, yet there were two outs in the inning and a runner on third. The Netherlands was poised to waste a golden first inning opportunity because of their baserunning miscues. Big Wladimir Balentien made sure that didn’t happen though. He took Lopez way deep to left field for a two-run shot, his fourth homer of the WBC.
It was thrilling, it was dramatic and it took extra innings, but now Puerto Rico is back in the finals of the World Baseball Classic, one win away from being a beached-blond team of young MLB stars that ran the table.
Puerto Rico beat the Netherlands 4-3 on Monday night, in a semifinal game that went to international tiebreaker rules. That means, in the 11th inning, the teams started with runners at first and second each inning. It’s unusual to MLB audiences, but it sure shakes things up.
It worked perfectly in Puerto’s Rico favor. In the top of the 11th, an inning-ending double play kept Netherlands off the scoreboard, then the Puerto Rico came up just needing a base hit to win the game. After a sacrifice bunt and an intentional walk, all Puerto Rico actually needed was a sac fly. It came off the bat of Twins outfielder Eddie Rosario and Carlos Correa raced home as the winning run.