World Baseball Classic Pool D: Puerto Rico – Netherlands 5-0
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No more surprise victories for the Netherlands in Pool D of the World Baseball Classic. Puerto Rico shut out the lone remaining European team in the tournament 5-0 to clinch the number one seed. If this makes them happy, we’ll see on Saturday, when they face Team USA in round two at Dolphin Stadium, Miami. The Dutch squad takes on Venezuela.
The Netherlands, which has trailed a total of three innings in the World Baseball Classic before the start of Wednesday’s game, created a little scare for the home crowd in San Juan. With two outs Randall Simon singled to center and tried to score from first on Yurendell de Caster’s double to left-center field, but was thrown out at the plate after a prefect relay from Carlos Beltran to Mike Aviles to Geovany Soto.
Manager Rod Delmonico on the other side sent Pim Walsma to the mound for the start against Puerto Rico and he had trouble to find the strike zone in the first period. He threw eight consecutive balls to put Jesus Feliciano and Ramon Vazquez on base. Feliciano advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on Beltran’s force out for the 1-0 lead. Walsma walked Carlos Delgado and Alex Rios to load the bases, before escaping further trouble with a strikeout against Ivan Rodriguez and a fly out by Soto.
However despite the one-run deficit the Netherlands couldn’t come back. Additionally Puerto Rico extended the advantage later on through a RBI triple by Rios and RBI singles by Pudge Rodriguez, Soto and Alex Cora. The Dutch only got into scoring position once more, when Bryan Engelhardt and Dirk van’t Klooster led off the eighth with back-to-back singles. But two punch outs and a ground out ended the threat.
Walsma (L 0-1) pitched two innings, allowing one hit, one run and five walks in his first 2009 WBC appearance. David Bergman (2+ IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 3 SO), Alex Smit (1IP, 1 H, 1 SO), Berry van Driel (1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 2 SO) and Michiel van Kampen (2 IP, 2 H, 1 R) followed Walsma on the mound. Jonathan Sanchez (W 1-0) struck out four in four innings, giving up two hits and a base on balls. Seven relievers combined to induce just four more hits, sealing the shutout.