Dominican Rally Stuns United States Team

Myworld has not been to a World Series game but we have attended a number of playoff games in San Diego, D.C. and Baltimore and it gets no louder than the noise at Marlins stadium last night. Especially after Nelson Cruz sealed the comeback by the Dominicans with his three run homerun to lead the Dominicans over the United States 7-5.

It was not so easy this time for the Dominicans. They had trouble making solid contact off United States starter Marcus Stroman. He allowed just two hits in his four plus innings of work. A two out single by Starling Marte in the fifth put Stroman at his pitch count and Tanner Roark came on to get the last out. The bullpen could not hold the 5-0 lead.

Meanwhile the United States team peppered Dominican starter Edinson Volquez. The Dominican’s defensive deficiencies also led to a couple runs. In the third Carlos Santana was unable to scoop a one hop throw from Robinson Cano to allow Ian Kinsler to reach. Adam Jones lined a ball into right center field. Nelson Cruz and Starling Marte both went for the ball and as they both reached for the ball their arms collided sending the ball into the right field warning track. Kinsler scored and Adam Jones stopped at third on the three base error. Christian Yelich blooped a single into left field to score Jones, advancing to second when Jose Bautista over ran the ball. Nolan Arenado lined to third to end the inning.

The United States tacked on another run off Volquez in the fourth. Paul Goldschmidt singled with a wild pitch advancing him to second. Giancarlo Stanton walked. Jonathan Lucroy lined a ball to right center. Nelson Cruz yielded to Marte who made the catch for the second out. Brandon Crawford lined a single to center to score Goldschmidt.

The United States tacked on two more runs off Jumbo Diaz to take a commanding 5-0 lead. Paul Goldschmidt again got the inning started with a single and scored when Giancarlo Stanton muscled a drive to left center for a double. Fernando Abad came on to face the lefty Brandon Crawford. Brandon scored Giancarlo with a double to right field to make it 5-0.

Tanner Roark opened the Tiger’s den for the Dominicans, putting their fans back in the game when he gave up a monster homerun to Manny Machado in the bottom of the sixth. The ball cleared the left field bleachers and bounced on the pavilion. Tanner appeared flustered after that, with the crowd momentum shifting to the Dominican side. His breaking pitches bounced in the dirt and his fastballs drifted off the plate. Robinson Cano and Jose Bautista walked. Carlos Santana singled up the middle to score a second run. Roark still struggled to throw strikes but got Nelson Cruz and Adrian Beltre to fly out to end the inning.

Myworld was surprised to see Roark start the seventh. He didn’t last long, giving up a leadoff double to Wellington Castillo. Daniel Robertson came on to replace Roark. Wellington Castillo launced a double over the head of leftfielder Christian Yelich to cut the lead to 5-3. Robertson was able to slither out of the inning, stranding Castillo at third when Manny Machado grounded out to third and Robinson Cano struck out. With the momentum shifted it was only a matter of time before the Dominicans took the lead.

When you saw Andrew Miller take the mound in the eighth there was a sense of comfort if you were a United States fan. He got ahead of Jose Bautista 0-2 but then bounced a pitch in the dirt that hit Bautista. Carlos Santana bounced a ball up the middle, Ian Kinsler made a spectacular diving play to get to the ball, but his throw to second was off the base and the Dominicans had the tying runs on with Nelson Cruz at the plate. Miller got ahead in the count 0-2 but Cruz put a charge in his next pitch that cleared the left field wall just inside the foul pole for a 6-5 Dominican lead. The crowd went wild as if 20,000 sticks of dynamite had just exploded at the same time. Cruz cruised around the bases in a maniacal celebration of joy as the Dominicans had taken the lead. A batter later Starling Marte drove a pitch over the right field wall and the crowd again erupted in joy. Marte could not hold his emotions as he danced his way around the bases to give the Dominicans a 7-5 lead.

It was all over for the sullen United States team. Jeurys Familia came on to pitch the ninth, blowing smoke, with his fastball hitting three digits. The United States was retired in order with the Ian Kinsler strikeout for the third out sending the Dominican fans waving their flags and the crowd celebrating. There was a lot of dancing in the aisles and hugging on the field as the Dominicans had just defeated the United States 7-5.

Game Notes: It was still impossible for myworld to get to the game on time even after a 4 PM departure for a 630 game. Traffic getting to the stadium was backed up and parking was impossible to find. Myworld finally parked in a worn down area of Little Havana, where a parking spot opened up for me. I was grateful my car was still intact when the game had ended…Myworld is convinced the stadium was plopped down right in the middle of a neighborhood. There is no easy access to the stadium, parking is limited, with the housing owners charging for parking on their front lawns or in their backyard your only real option. Myworld does not know how Marlins fans can tolerate the chaos. Now we have a better understanding of why their attendance is so low…The automated ticket laser delayed the entry into the stadium. It may be able to ensure tickets are valid but waiting for the laser to recognize the bar code is much slower than tearing off a ticket stub. There was really no line trying to get in the park, just a mob of fans 20 yards deep pushing towards the ticket attendees with their laser guns…The women and their fashion exhibits were again spectacular. Backless outfits seemed to be in vogue for this game, but the cleavage was still heavily advertised…There were 37,466 at the game. Most of them were Dominican fans with signs crying out for Plantain power…Manny Machado is not wearing uniform number 13. He is wearing number 3…This had all the atmosphere of a playoff game. As one Dominican said to me - “Don’t worry. The United States played well. But no one beats the Dominicans in baseball.” They are the defending champs so I will have to give him his chops. We’ll see how they play against Japan.

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