SAN FRANCISCO — Edwin Encarnacion’s two-run double in the first was all the offense his team would need, as five pitchers combined on a three-hit shutout to help the Dominican Republic complete an undefeated run to the World Baseball Classic title with a 3-0 victory over Puerto Rico on Tuesday at AT&T Park.
Dominican Republic starter Samuel Deduno (1-0) struck out five and allowed just two hits and three walks over five frames before Octavio Dotel, Pedro Strop and Santiago Casilla each spun a scoreless inning in relief.
Fernando Rodney held Puerto Rico hitless in the ninth to complete the shutout, as the Dominican Republic became the first team other than Japan to win the WBC in the third edition of the event.
“I’ll tell you one thing: Tonight we’re going to celebrate, tomorrow we’re going to celebrate and Thursday we’re going to worry about spring training,” said Dominican Republic second baseman Robinson Cano, who was named MVP.
Jose Reyes stroked a double and a triple to go with a run scored, while Erick Aybar plated the other run for the Dominican Republic, which beat Puerto Rico three times en route to the first undefeated run in WBC history.
Starter Giancarlo Alvarado (0-1) gave up a pair of runs on two hits and a walk in the first inning for Puerto Rico, which defeated two-time defending champion Japan to advance to the title game.
The Dominican Republic wasted little time jumping on top, thanks in large part to Reyes’ leadoff double in the bottom of the first.
Reyes then moved to third on Aybar’s sacrifice bunt before Cano was intentionally walked to put runners on the corners.
Puerto Rico’s decision to walk Cano backfired, as Encarnacion followed with a double into right-center field that scored Reyes and Cano to give the Dominican Republic a 2-0 lead.
The Dominican Republic added an insurance run in the fifth, as Alejandro De Aza reached on a one-out bunt single before moving to second on Reyes’ groundout. Aybar then plated De Aza with a line-drive double to right field to put his team on top by a 3-0 margin.
Puerto Rico’s best chance to score came in the seventh when Mike Aviles smacked a leadoff single and Alex Rios followed with a walk.
Strop then took over for Dotel on the mound and quickly ended Puerto Rico’s rally by striking out Carlos Rivera and pinch-hitter Pedro Valdes before getting Jesus Feliciano to pop out into foul territory to end the inning.
“I’ve got to tell you, we had some opportunities to score some runs, but that’s when they got nastier,” Puerto Rico center fielder Angel Pagan said of the Dominican Republic’s relievers. “They put the pitches where they wanted and they kept us from the bases. That was the difference tonight.”
Casilla was able to keep Puerto Rico off the board in the eighth despite issuing a leadoff walk, while Rodney worked around an error in the ninth by fanning the final two batters he faced to secure the title for the Dominican Republic.