Puerto Rico stayed undefeated in the World Baseball Classic, beating the Netherlands, 4-3 in 11 innings. Puerto Rico advanced to the WBC Finals on Wednesday night (9pm ET), as they await the winner of tonight’s game between Japan and the USA.
For the second time in this WBC, the Netherlands lost with the international tiebreaking rules in play.
With the game tied at 3-3 to start the 11th inning, runners are placed on first and second base to start each half inning. Being the road team, the Netherlands used a pinch-hitter, who executed a sac bunt. Puerto Rico elected to intentionally walk Yurendell deCaster to load the bases and then reliever Edwin Diaz (in his second inning of work) induced an inning ending double play.
Puerto Rico also elected to sac bunt in the bottom of the 11th inning with Yadier Molina (more on him in a bit). Netherlands reliever Loek van Mil (also in his second inning of work) intentionally walked Javier Baez before Eddie Rosario lifted a sac fly to center field for the game winner.
The Netherlands probably should have won the game in nine innings, but bad base running cost them at least two runs in the first (or having brain farts as I call it). They had runners at first and second base with nobody out, but Andrelton Simmons was picked off second base by a mile by Molina. Then Jurickson Profar followed with a single that would have driven in a run. However, Profar was too busy trying to pump up his teammates in the dugout before getting back on the first base bag and was thrown out by Molina. Then Wladimir Balentien followed with a two-run home run.
So the Netherlands should have scored four runs without having any outs.
For Puerto Rico, former KC Royal Carlos Beltran went 2-for-4 with a strikeout. Reymond Fuentes started in center field and went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. Mike Aviles pinch-hit for Fuentes in the ninth and struck out.