Friday, November 24, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Dominicans, with Rays' Rodney, win World Baseball Classic

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SAN FRANCISCO — Cheers of "Dominicana! Dominicana!" rang out through the rain at AT&T Park all the way to the lively streets of Santo Domingo.

The Dominican Republic has its World Baseball Classic crown at last.

Edwin Encarnacion hit a two-run double in the first inning that held up, and the Dominican Republic capped a dominant unbeaten run through the WBC with a 3-0 win against Puerto Rico for the championship Tuesday night.

Erick Aybar added an RBI double to back winner Samuel Deduno, and the demonstrative right-hander threw his arms into the air in delight after watching a run-saving defensive gem by centerfielder Alejandro De Aza in a tough fifth.

The Dominican fans — fanaticos, indeed — didn't let the bay area's wet weather keep them from dancing in the stands, waving flags and tooting horns. Flags became makeshift ponchos.

Some 50,000 more supporters gathered to watch on giant televisions inside and outside of Estadio Quisqueya in the Dominican capital city. "There will not be anybody watching any other channel — soap opera, news, nothing," manager Tony Pena said before the game.

Now, the Dominicans get their long-awaited fiesta. It was a party they figured to have in 2009, when the Netherlands spoiled the plan by beating them twice for a stunning first-round exit in the tournament.

After Fernando Rodney struck out Luis Figueroa to end it, the Dominicans rushed the mound, each player waving a flag.

Rodney, the Rays' closer, had seven saves during the series and did not allow a run.

The Dominicans (8-0) won it in the city where countrymen Felipe, Jesus and the late Matty Alou made history in 1963 when they appeared in the same Giants outfield for several games. Moises Alou, son of former San Francisco skipper Felipe, is the Dominican general manager.

Deduno followed up a fine outing in a win against the Americans on Thursday with another strong performance that will send him back to the Twins with some nice momentum.

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