Puerto Rico wins in 11, moves into WBC final
LOS ANGELES -- Eddie Rosario's sacrifice fly drove in Carlos Correa in the bottom of the 11th inning, giving Puerto Rico a 4-3 victory over the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic semifinals at Dodger Stadium on Monday.
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Correa opened the inning at second base and Enrique Hernandez was placed at first in a game played under international tiebreaker rules. Yadier Molina's sacrifice bunt moved the runners before Javier Baez was intentionally walked by Loek Van Mil (0-1).
Rosario hit the first pitch to send Puerto Rico, 7-0 in the tournament, to the title game for the second consecutive tournament.
The United States will play Japan in the other semifinal Tuesday, with the winner meeting Puerto Rico on Wednesday. Japan won the first two tournaments. Team USA has never made the final game.
Edwin Diaz (1-0) struck out the side in the top of the 10th inning, getting hot-hitting Wladimir Balentien looking at a 99 mph fastball one pitch after a high-inside fastball caused the benches to clear. Diaz induced Curt Smith to ground into an inning-ending bases-loaded, double-play grounder in the 11th.
Balentien hit a two-run homer in the first inning for an early lead off right-hander Jorge Lopez. The Netherlands' cleanup hitter, Balentien was 16-for-26 (.615) in seven games, and he leads the WBC with four homers and 12 RBIs.
Correa hit his third homer of the WBC after a single by Francisco Lindor in the last of the first inning to tie it at 2 off Rick van den Hurk.
T.J. Rivera gave Puerto Rico a 3-2 lead with a bases-empty homer in the second inning.
The Netherlands tied it at 3 in the fifth inning, after Balentien doubled off the top of the left field fence with two outs off reliever Hector Santiago. Jonathan Schoop was intentionally walked, and Shawn Zarraga doubled to deep left-center field to drive in Balentien.
HOW THE GAME WAS WON: Puerto Rico made a textbook defensive play in the to cut down the potential go-ahead run at the plate in the fifth inning. Shawn Zarraga's two-out double drove in Wladimir Balentein to tie the game at 3, but second baseman Javier Baez took left fielder Angel Pagan's throw and relayed to the plate, where Yadier Molina made the tag after fielding a one-hop throw.
MISSED OPPORTUNITY: The Netherlands opened the first inning with a single, a hit batter and another single, but all it had to show was a runner on third and two outs after catcher Yadier Molina picked Andrelton Simmons off second base and caught Jurickson Profar celebrating a single one step too far off first base. Balentien followed with a homer, but it was not at damaging as it could have been.
TIP OF THE CAP: The Netherlands outfielder Wladimir Balentien, a one-time power prospect in the Seattle organization, has prospered after signing with the Yakult Swallows in the Japan Central League. Belentien has 184 homers with Yakult the past six seasons, and he hit 60 in 2013.
UP NEXT: Puerto Rico will have a day off before playing the winner of Tuesday's game between the United States and Japan in the championship game Wednesday. Puerto Rico is in the finals for the second straight event after losing to the Dominican Republic 3-0 in 2013.