Puerto Rico beat the Dominican Republic in the second round of the World Baseball Classic on Tuesday in San Diego, 3-1. It was the first game of a four-team round robin for both clubs.
Puerto Rico used dominant pitching to earn the victory. The loss for the defending champion Dominican Republic was the first in eight years of World Baseball Classic play after winning 11 consecutive games in the tournament.
This was the first time Puerto Rico defeated the Dominican Republic since 2006.
Puerto Rico held the Dominican Republic to just six hits and left them scoreless after the second inning.
Nelson Cruz hit a solo homer for the Dominican team in the second inning. It was Cruz’s blast of the tournament. He hit 87 the last two seasons with the Seattle Mariners, the most in Major League Baseball over that time. The Baltimore Orioles’ Chris Davis, with 85 in two years, is second behind Cruz.
Japan beat Cuba, 8-5, in Pool E.
Playing in Tokyo, the Japanese team used a three-run eighth inning to surge ahead of Cuba and move to 2-0 in second-round pool play. A Tetsuto Yamada two-run homer, his second of the tournament, punctuated that big inning. Yamada and Yoshitomo Tsutsugoh combined for six hits and five RBI in front of a home crowd.
The Japanese moved to 2-0 in the four-team pool, which is a round robin including them, Cuba, Israel, and the Netherlands. They were in position to clinch a semifinal berth with a Cuba win over the Netherlands later on Tuesday.
The top two finishers in Pools E and F advance to the championship round, which is straightforward and single-elimination. The runners-up in the two pools play the winners from the other in one-game semifinals at Dodger Stadium on March 20 and 21. A day after that, they’ll hold the championship game at the same venue.
MLB.com’s official WBC scoreboard, with detailed box scores for each game, is here.