BY WALTER VILLA
MIAMI—Four scoreless innings, four wasted opportunities—two for each team.
That’s the story so far in this World Baseball Classic second-round elimination game between Puerto Rico and Italy.
Puerto Rico’s best chances came in the first and fourth innings. In the first, Angel Pagan was stranded after he led off with an opposite-field double to left.
In the fourth, Puerto Rico wasted a first-and-third opportunity with one out. Mike Aviles popped out, and Alex Rios hit a slow roller to short and was thrown out on a nice play by Anthony Granato.
Italy’s threats were in the second and third innings. In the second, Michael Costanzo pulled a line-drive double that short-hopped the fence in the right-field corner, But he failed to advance.
In the third, Chris Denorfia hit a one-out double over the head of left fielder Eddie Rosario. He was stranded when Anthony Rizzo and Alex Liddi both hit hard outs to second base and left field, respectively.
MIAMI—It was a case of great athletes watching great athletes.
Jose Reyes and Robinson Cano were among a handful of Dominican players who went from beating Italy Tuesday afternoon at Marlins Park to watching the Miami Heat defeat the Atlanta Hawks Tuesday night at American Airlines Arena.
Thursday night at 7, it will be back to serious business for the Dominicans, who will have their first-ever World Baseball Classic matchup with Team USA.
The Americans will throw reigning National League Cy Young R.A. Dickey against Reyes, Cano and the rest of that powerful Dominican lineup.Team USA’s lineup, led by “Captain America” David Wright and his WBC-leading 10 RBIs, is pretty good, too.
But while we wait for that main-course feast, we are anticipating a pretty tasty serving of Italy vs. Puerto Rico in a couple of hours. It’s an elimination game, so it should be pretty intense.
More on that game in a bit . . .