Sat, Mar 11, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Bautista homers, Dominican Republic crush Canada

AP, MIAMI

Fernando Rodney of the Dominican Republic strikes a pose after pitching in the ninth inning of their World Baseball Classic game against Canada in Miami on Thursday.

Photo: AP

Jose Bautista homered and drove in four runs on Thursday as the Dominican Republic opened their bid for a second consecutive World Baseball Classic (WBC) title with a 9-2 victory against Canada.

Welington Castillo hit a two-run homer for the Dominican Republic, who went 8-0 to win the 2013 title.

Before the game, manager Tony Pena said his team looks better on paper this year.

Bautista singled home a run in the second, singled again in the fifth and hit a three-run homer in the sixth off Dustin Molleken.

“This is a team full of cleanup hitters,” Bautista said.

Jose Reyes had three of the Dominican Republic’s 15 hits. Castillo’s homer came in the second inning, when his side bunched six hits to score four runs off Ryan Dempster.

“That’s a pretty good ball club they ran out there,” Canada manager Ernie Whitt said. “There are no soft spots for sure.”

Carlos Martinez pitched four innings in first career WBC outing and allowed one run.

“I achieved my dream — to play for the Dominican Republic,” Martinez said. “I said: ‘This is my game.’ I wasn’t nervous. I simply worked as I always do.”

The Dominican Republic were the home team and had the majority of support from a boisterous crowd of 27,388 at Marlins Park, with fans chanting, blowing horns and pounding drums throughout the game.

Dempster, a 16-year major league veteran who came out of retirement to pitch for Canada at age 39, lasted only two innings and gave up four runs. It was his first game since the 2013 World Series.

“I wish I would have made a couple of better pitches,” Dempster said. “They’re a really good lineup. They almost have an All-Star team.”

Canada are in danger of being eliminated in the opening round for the fourth consecutive time.

The game also had a somber side for the Dominican Republic, who hung jerseys in their dugout honoring Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura and former major league player Andy Marte, who died in separate traffic accidents on the same January morning.

“A beautiful gesture from management to show the brotherhood of all Dominican [Republic] players,” Bautista said.

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