MIAMI – As a reward for their latest victory, the Dominicans get a World Baseball Classic rematch against the team that eliminated them in 2009.
Wandy Rodriguez pitched six innings, and three relievers completed a three-hitter to help the unbeaten Dominican Republic top Puerto Rico 2-0 Saturday.
Both teams had already qualified for the semifinals in San Francisco, and the game merely determined seedings. Puerto Rico plays two-time defending champion Japan tonight, and the Dominicans face the Netherlands on Monday night, with the winners advancing to the championship game Tuesday.
The Dominicans were eliminated from the 2009 WBC when they lost twice to the Netherlands in a stunning first-round upset.
“We’re not thinking of the past; we’re thinking of the present,” Dominican manager Tony Pena said. “They’re going to be tough. We’re going to be tough also.”
Puerto Rico will face Japan for the first time.
Rodriguez (1-0) allowed two hits and departed with a 1-0 lead. He retired all five batters he faced with runners in scoring position, and the Puerto Ricans finished 0 for 8 in those situations.
Carlos Santana broke a scoreless tie for the Dominicans in the fifth inning with his second home run.
Fernando Rodney gave up a hit for the first time but earned his fifth save, extending his WBC record.
“This is a triumph for all Dominicans anywhere in the world,” said Robinson Cano, who is batting .417 in the tournament.