We only had one game on Day 13 of the 2013 World Baseball Classic. Fortunately, that game was the best pitcher's duel of this year's WBC.
With a spot in the semifinals on the line, Team USA took on the Dominican Republic in Miami. So how did it all go down?
For starters, the Americans were without third baseman David Wright. Wright was a late scratch due to back soreness, which forced the Americans to start Willie Bloomquist at third.
As for the Dominican Republic, shortstop Erick Aybar was not in the starting lineup. Before it was all said and done, however, Aybar's name was known.
Everyone knew his name.
Dominican Republic vs. Team USA
If you turned this game off after the bottom of the first inning, you probably thought this was going to be somewhere in between a blowout and a high-scoring affair. That would be a logical assumption, as things got ugly quick.
Brandon Phillips, Joe Mauer and Giancarlo Stanton all reached on singles to load the bases. With Dominican Republic pitcher Samuel Deduno clearly rattled, Eric Hosmer stepped to the plate.
Deduno walked Hosmer on five pitches and brought Phillips across the plate. In turn, the U.S. took an early 1-0 lead and appeared to be in full control of this one.
During the top of the second inning, however, Hanley Ramirez launched an R.A. Dickey pitch for a 451-foot home run to left field.
The Hanley Ramirez HR had a "true distance" of 451 feet-- the 4th-longest HR hit in Marlins Park since it opened last season.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 15, 2013
With the game tied at 1-1, we went scoreless for an extended period of time. Dickey and Deduno worked their way through the early innings and kept the opposing teams without a run the rest of the way.
Three U.S. relief pitchers kept it that way through the eighth inning. Three Dominican pitchers did the same.
And then the ninth rolled around.
Craig Kimbrel, the reigning Rolaids Relief Man of the Year, took the mound in the top of the ninth. His lone goal was to keep the game scoreless so Team USA could attempt to win it in the bottom of the ninth.
Nelson Cruz launched a double to right center to open up the inning. Suddenly, the Americans began to question whether or not they could hold on for the W.
Pinch-hitter Erick Aybar drove Cruz in with a single to right and the D.R. took a 2-1 lead. Moments later, Aybar stole second and put himself in position to score.
Jose Reyes rewarded the Los Angeles Angel by driving him in to put the Dominican Republic up 3-1.
Entering the bottom of the ninth inning, the Americans were in what appeared to be an insurmountable hole. Down by two runs, the Americans needed a miracle.
Fernando Rodney put an end to those dreams.
First up, Rodney got Adam Jones to fly out to left field. Next up was Ben Zobrist, who struck out swinging.
With two outs, pinch-hitter Shane Victorino popped out to third. The Dominican Republic secured the win.
Pedro Strop was the winning pitcher, Kimbrel was the losing thrower and Rodney picked up the save. More importantly, the Dominican Republic has clinched a berth in the championship round.
The U.S. will now play Puerto Rico in an elimination game to determine who will face the D.R. to determine the Semifinal seeding.
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