VENEZUELA advanced to the semi finals of the World Baseball Classic with a 2-0 victory over Puerto Rico in Miami.
A 3rd-inning 2-out single from Carlos Guillen scored Bobby Abreu from second base and Ramon Hernandez hit a solo home run in the 7th after a video replay deemed it went over the National League scoreboard in Dolphin Stadium.
Puerto Rico will now face the USA in an elimination game tomorrow to see who else advances to the final four in LA.
See the live running commentary below.
- 7:25pm (11.25pm London time):
The lineups are in for tonight’s WBC game between Venezuela and Puerto Rico, the winner of which advances.
It’s 35 minutes until 1st pitch and it’s 11.30pm here in England, but I love this matchup between Hernandez and Snell and I’ll be following it live with you all night, here on MLBlogs.
Let’s check out the lineups:
People who have read a few of my blogs will have seen me refer to my friend Phil, a Yankees fan and a baseball addict.
Here’s the conversation we just had:
Me: You gonna watch the WBC?
Phil: What time they start? And yes probably
Me: 30 mins
Phil: Then yes
Me: Good call
Phil: Will you catch a bit of it?
Me: Gonna watch it all baby
Phil: All of it?!!!!!
Phil: Are you nuts? You are even more baseball crazy than usual this time! Gotta say i like it
Me: If you can’t get excited for baseball, what do you have left?
Phil: brb, I’m gonna grab a shower before first pitch then
Me: Haha, who showers at 11.30pm?
Phil: People without jobs
Ok, 15 mins until game time – checklist
- Chocolate and snacks – Yes
- Drinks – Yup
- Headphones – Yes
- Set my alarm for work – Done
- Pyjamas and one last bathroom break……. Be right back.
- 8pm – Let’s play ball
With Netherlands out, the winner advances to the final round in Los Angeles. Puerto Rico are favorites, but I’m going for Venezuela tonight.
Ian Snell will face Gregor Blanco, Melvin Mora and Bobby Abreu in the top of the 1st inning.
Blanco fights back from 0-2 to a 3-2 count but strikes out looking on a fastball at the knees. Mora slaps an 0-2 pitch up and away the other way to right-field but Abreu gets ringed up on a slider which drops out of the zone.
Miguel Cabrera doubles off the centre-field wall. Mora moves to 3B but pulls up and is not able to round for home. He’s maybe pulled something. A hamstring perhaps.
Carlos Guillen, batting from the left side, strikes out on a fastball to end the inning with a pair stranded. Puerto Rico are coming to bat.
Mid 1st: 0-0, 0 runs, 2 hits, 0 errors
Felix Hernandez will face Jesus Feliciano, Ramon Vazquez and Carlos Beltran in the bottom half of the 1st.
Hernandez fans Feliciano on a sweet hook down in the zone and then gets Vazquez looking on a high breaking ball. Beltran walks on a pitch down and in but Carlos Delgardo strikes out on a 1-2 fastball. He knew it straight away. Felix fans 3 and we’re on to the 2nd inning.
END 1st: 0-0, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors
Ordonez, Lopez and Hernandez up next for Venezuela
Magglio Ordonez is booed by his own fans for his support of the Venezuelan President as he strikes out. Jose Lopez walks on 5 pitches and Ramon Hernandez flies out to left-field.
Marco Scutaro singles on a soft broken-bat flair to right-field, sending Lopez first-to-third, but Snell barehands Blanco’s chopper to retire the side.
MID 2nd: 0-0, 0 runs, 2 hits, 0 errors
Alex Rios, Pudge Rodriguez and Felipe Lopez up next
Rios singles to left-field after turning on the high fastball and Pud
ge singles up the middle. It looked like it hit Rios – how did they miss that?? Rios goes to third base. Looks ominous.
Things are all good in the world – they reversed the call, and rightly so. Lopez lines out to left-field on the first pitch of the next at bat and Yadier Molina walks to bring up Cora. Runners on 1st and 2nd, 2 outs, but Cora flies out to Ordonez in left. Still 0-0.
END 2nd: 0-0, 0 runs, 1 hits, 0 errors
Mora flies out to Beltran in centre-field and Abreu walks on an inside 3-2 pitch for ball 4.
Miguel Cabrera, who hit 37 homers and 125RBI last season, just misses an 0-1 fastball and Abreu then steals 2nd as Cabrera strikes out on a breaking ball in the dirt. Yadier Molina tries to throw him out, but short-hops his throw.
Carlos Guillen lines a single to centre and we have our first run as Abreu scores from 2nd.
Magglio Ordonez flies out to right to end the inning.
MID 3rd: 1-0, 1 runs, 1 hits, 0 errors
Feliciano, Vazquez and Beltran up next for Puerto Rico
Feliciano lines out to Blanco in centre-field after working it to a full count and Vazquez has no idea where Felix is pitching him. He looks all at sea and inevitably strikes out. That’s his 4th K – this time it’s a high cutter.
Carlos Beltran keeps the inning alive after slapping a breaking ball the other way for a stand-up double. Delgado walks on a 3-2 pitch inside as Beltran steals third base. Felix Hernandez slips on his back foot, but he’s ok.
There’s men on the corners for Rios but he lofts a soft fly ball for Abreu and they strand a pair. Venezuela still leads 1-0
END 3rd: 1-0, 0 runs, 1 hits, 0 errors
Let’s move into the 4th inning – Jose Lopez laces it, but Feliciano tracks it down in left. Ramon Hernandez reaches on an infield single down the third base line and Marco Scutaro hits into a force out. Delgado wheels and throws to second – it’s a much safer play.
Gregor Blanco pops up to Cora at third to end the inning.
9.30pm in America, but 1.30am in England – It’s time for some chocolate I think
MID 4th: 1-0, 0 runs, 1 hits, 0 errors
Pudge grounds out on the first pitch and Lopez strikes out on a 2-seamer. Hernandez throws out Yadier Molina on a smart play to grab the nubber before it went foul. Quick inning, still 1-0.
END 4th: 1-0, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors
Giancarlo Alvarado comes in to pitch for Puerto Rico. He’ll face Melvin Mora to start the 5th inning.
Cora does a good job ranging to his left before throwing Mora out at 1B.
Abreu flies out just short of the warning track for out number 2 and Cabrera goes down swinging. Just 9 pitches to retire the side for Alvarado. Good effort in relief.
MID 5th: 1-0, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors
Cora strikes out, as does Feliciano – that’s 7Ks for King Felix. Ramon Vazquez is up next and he’s 0/2 with a pair of strikeouts today. Are we taking bets?
Good job we didn’t – he crushes a 2-out triple over the glove of Abreu in deep right field. Gonzalez and Vazquez are warming up in the pen as Beltran comes to bat.
Beltran fouls off a good 3-2 breaking ball after looking at the hammer at 3-1. He’s at his pitch limit, so this will be the last batter. The next pitch is away from Beltran and he will walk to 1B. A new pitcher will be in to face Delgado.
Carlos Vazquez is in to face the Puerto Rican slugger who chases a slider in the dirt. The Venezuelans are pumped. We’re going to the 6th inning, still a 1-run game.
Felix Hernandez leaves with 4.2IP, 4hits, 4 walks, 7Ks
END 5th: 1-0, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors
Alvarado will face Carlos Guillen to lead off the inning. It’s a ground ball to Delgado and he will feed Alvarado covering the bag for the first out.
The boos tell you Ordonez is back at the dish and he grounds out to short. He’s 0/3 today and that will bring up Jose Lopez.
That’s a quick inning too as Lopez lifts a shallow flyball to Rios for out number 3.
MID 6th: 1-0, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors
Enrique Gonzalez is in to pitch the bottom half of the 6th inning. Rios is up first and he flies out to right-field to Abreu. Pudge just misses a fastball and flies out deep to right and Lopez hits a comebacker at Gonzalez who gets hit on the foot but manages to throw him out in time. 3-up 3-down – we’re on to the 7th.
END 6th: 1-0, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors
Hernandez things he has hit a home run. So do I. They rule it a triple, but it has gone. They will confer, but it’s 2-0 Venezuela for sure.
This is silly! 7 minutes for an obvious decision from above. I don’t know what is taking so long.
HOME RUN HERNANDEZ – the umps tell him to circle them all and it’s 2-0 Venezuela.
Scutaro tries to catch them Puerto Rican team off guard by bunting, but he’s thrown out by the 3B. Pitching change here in the top of the 7th – JC Romero is in to pitch for PR and he gets Blanco on a chopper back to the mound. Melvin Mora drills at flyball to CF Beltran to end the frame.
MID 7th: 2-0, 1 runs, 1 hits, 0 errors.
- 2.30am – time for a trip to the bathroom
Yadier Molina comes up after the 7th inning stretch. Gonzalez walks him on a 3-2 breaking ball waaaay outside. He’s the #8 hitter and it is nowhere near him – strange.
Cora will get a chance here to cut into the lead, but he grounds into a force out. Cora hustles and beats the return throw though – almost a straight double play. Jesus Feliciano up.
Feliciano grounds out to Cabrera at 1B as Cora advances 90ft. Ramon Vazquez looks at a 2-1 slider but works the count full. Beltran is on deck.
Vazquez swings over top of a breaking ball and the threat is over for now. They are down to their final 6 outs. It’s on to the 8th, the score 2-0.
END 7th: 2-0, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors.
The heart of the Puerto Rican order is up in the bottom half of the frame, so JC Romero has to keep Venezuela off the board here.
Abreu watches it to a 3-0 count and then takes a fastball. Romero is late covering 1B on a grounder and Abreu beats it out on the flip from Delgado.
We have another pitching change. We’ll be right back.
Saul Rivera is in to face Cabrera and he gets him to hit a flyball to centre-field. Delgado holds Abreu on 1B.
Cora makes a fantastic play to throw out Carlos Guillen as Abreu goes to 2B. Magglio is up, batting 3/19 in the WBC so far.
He hits a ball right to Rivera for the easy put out 1-3.
MID 8th: 2-0, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors.
Ramon Ramirez is in to pitch for Venezuela. He’ll face Beltran, Delgado and Rios. Endy Chavez comes in to play centre-field for Venezuela.
Beltran walks on 5 pitches on a 90mph high fastball and Delgado lines out to 2B. Beltran quickly turns and hustles back to 1B to avoid getting double off.
Rios lines a base hit to centre and the go-ahead run comes to the plate. Runners on 1st and 2nd with 1 out. Pudge is up.
He flies out to right and there is 2 away. Big spot for Felipe Lopez and K-Rod is warming up. Oh oh.
In the middle of the at bat, 2 ball and 1 strikes, they go to the pen and bring in K-Rod. Sweeeet.
He strikes Lopez out on the changeup and they’re 3 outs away from the semi-finals!
END 8th: 2-0, 0 runs, 1 hits, 0 errors.
Fernando Cabrera faces Lopez who lines out to SS. Home run hero Ramon Hernandez rips a single to right-centre; he’s now 3/4 with a pair of singles and a bomb. Gerrardo Parra is the pinch runner for Hernandez.
Parra steals second despite a perfect throw from Yadier Molina who backhanded the pitch in the dirt and Marco Scutaro draws a walk to put baserunners on 1st and 2nd.
Pedro Feliciano comes in to pitch for Puerto Rico and Henry Blanco comes in for Gregor Blanco as a pinch hitter. But Blanco grounds into a 6-4-3 inning-ending double play.
Last chance for the Puerto Ricans, trailing 2-0
MID 9th: 2-0, 0 runs, 1 hits, 0 errors.
K-Rod remains in to finish off the game for Venezuela. Henry Blanco remains in to catch and Izturis comes in at SS. Gerrado Parra is in at left and Chavez moves over to centre-field.
Yadier Molina popped up to Cabrera after fouling off 3 payoff pitches from K-Rod. 1 away.
Alex Cora strikes out looking. He was frozen with the fastball down and away. Unhittable. 2 down.
Jesus Feliciano grounds out to 2B – BALLGAME
END 9th: 2-0, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors.
FINAL 2-0 Venezuela
- 3.29am here in England and time for bed. I hope you enjoyed the game and my coverage if you missed any of it. Goodnight all.