BA correspondent Walter Villa checks in all week from Pool 2 in Marlins Park:
10:28 PM: MIAMI – Puerto Rico starts the seventh inning trailing the U.S., 3-0, and manager Edwin Rodriguez is probably grateful it’s not any worse.
Rodriguez’s pitchers have so far kept Giancaro Stanton in the park, even though the Marlins slugger who belted 37 homers in 123 games last year is 2 for 3 and has twice made hard contact.
Stanton is hitting eighth in the USA lineup, which seems astonishing when you consider the tape-measure home runs he hits. But Rodriguez, a former Marlins manager, is not fooled.
“I managed him in rookie ball and in the big leagues, so I know him well,” Rodriguez said before Tuesday’s game. “They’re batting Stanton eighth, and that means we have a tough task ahead of us. Hopefully, he comes on with nobody on base, and we can pitch around him.”
8:14 PM: MIAMI—While the U.S. and Puerto Rico have taken the field for Game 2 of the WBC's second round at Marlins Park, pitchers have been announced for each of the four teams’ next games.
All four are righthanders. Alessandro Maestri will pitch for Italy; Samuel Deduno (Twins) for the Dominicans, Giancarlo (Carlos) Alvarado for Puerto Rico and R.A. Dickey for the USA. Maestri and Alvarado both pitch in Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball league.
Meanwhile, throwing out the first pitches Tuesday night were former catcher Pudge Rodriguez, representing Puerto Rico, and Andre Dawson for Team USA.
MIAMI—It seemed inevitable . . . and now it has happened.
The potent Dominican Republic offense has surged ahead of Italy, 5-4, after 7½ innings.
The Dominicans, who fell behind 4-0 in the top of the first inning, got back in the game with solo home runs by Jose Reyes and Robinson Cano and then took over with a three-run seventh inning.
The tie-breaking hit came off the bat of Nelson Cruz—or what’s left of his stick, which was shattered. Half of the bat went to third base, but the key part of the equation—the ball—landed safely in right field for a run-scoring single.
The Dominicans are now three outs away from going 1-0 in the World Baseball Classic at Marlins Park.
MIAMI—Jose Reyes is dialed in.
The Dominican Republic trails Italy, 4-1, after three innings in the second round of the World Baseball Classic at Marlins Park. But a comeback appears very possible if not probable due to the firepower the Dominicans possess in their lineup.
Leading the way is shortstop Jose Reyes, who pulled a 1-2 pitch for a home run down the line in right field in the third inning. It is 335 feet to the pole, and Reyes’ line shot smacked off the Miccosukee sign, about 35 feet up.
Reyes just missed in the first inning. He flied out to the corner in right field, pinning outfielder Mario Chiarini up against the fence.