David Peralta, Venezuela down Dominican Republic in Thriller

 


Miami, Florida – Thanks to David Peralta, Venezuela defeated the Dominican Republic for the first time in the history of the World Baseball Classic, 5-1. Peralta came up big in the fourth and sixth, greatly contributing to the historic win. Miami’s own Sandy Alcantara represented the D.R. as their starting pitcher. He faced Martín “El De Las Matas” Pérez in a highly anticipated primetime game setting the tone in the fight for Pool D.

Both teams sought to start off the tournament on the right foot, knowing they could build off the momentum in order to advance to the next round. The soldout crowd was treated to an electric bout that was competitive from start to finish.

Battle in the 305

D.R. quickly scored courtesy of a Julio Rodríguez single supported by an RBI double from Juan Soto. The Dominican Republic threatened again in the second inning loading the bases, however, Pérez pitched himself out of a pickle. He struck out Rodriguez and dispatched Soto via the groundout.

Venezuela knotted up the game at the bottom of the second. Anthony Santander took Alcantara deep to right field in an impressive display of strength. The score remained static until the fourth. Salvador Perez led things off with a double. The Sand Man then walked Gleyber Torres prompting a mound visit. Andres Gimenez pounced with a single to load ’em up putting Alcantara in a big jam. The 2023 Cy Young winner retired Santander who homered earlier in the game, fanning Eugenio Suarez for the second out.

Nearly escaping the high-stakes situation, Peralta won, outdueling Sandy in the four-pitch at-bat via a liner to right field for the two-run base hit. Venezuelan fans roared in triumph knowing Peralta came through against a very talented ace.

Charged with protecting their precious lead, Luis Garcia replaced Jose Ruiz in the fifth, pitching three shutout innings and punching out no less than seven batters without allowing a single hit. Furthermore, this set a new WBC Miami record for most strikeouts by a reliever. Peralta struck again at the bottom of the sixth, doubling to center field with Suarez wheeling all the way from first to the plate adding an insurance run making it 4-1. José Quijada kept up the good work backed by some excellent defense from Santander out at right field, stranding two. The eighth-inning denial neutralized the Dominican Republic’s chance at a rally. They would get one more in the ninth with two on and one out. Nevertheless, they ultimately came up short failing to score.

Impressions

Obviously, David Peralta gets the MVP in the triumph over the Dominican Republic. This was nothing short of a star-studded clash between powerhouses. Just on the starting lineups alone (pitchers included) there were at least two Rookies of the Year, 15 All-Stars, three Gold Gloves, nine Silver Sluggers, five World Series Champs, two World Series MVPs, and a Cy Young. Also, it’s good to remember the rarity of such concentrated talent at the home of the Miami Marlins.

Without a doubt, the marquee matchup did not disappoint. It was an electric atmosphere comparable to an MLB playoff game. Fans were very into it, cheering and hollering at any well-executed play by their preferred team. Two Marlins also played, the other being Luis Arraez who cracked a double off his fellow Fish teammate. Speaking of, I’m not disappointed with Sandy’s outing. As long as he is having fun representing his country and is healthy, it’s all good. Alcantara was, is, and will remain the goat. In the post-game presser, I asked him what were his takeaways going forward. The Sand Man simply said, “Don’t miss.”

Finally, I really thought the Dominican Republic was going to win making Venezuela’s victory a refreshing twist to the tournament. The hope is the rest of Pool D play is every bit as exciting as the first day of the WBC.

Photo | World Baseball Classic

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