SAN FRANCISCO • Samuel Deduno pleaded with Tony Pena to leave him in the game — the outing of his life, his country across his chest.
Pena stuck with the demonstrative Dominican Republic right-hander — with his island nation’s World Baseball Classic hopes hanging on that managerial move. Deduno made Pena change his mind, and he never changes his mind.
The Dominican Republic stays unbeaten in the World Baseball Classic.
Edwin Encarnacion’s two-run hit in the first proves to be the game-winner.
The pitcher did his part by striking out Angel Pagan, and four innings later it was finally time for a party four years in the making.
The Dominicans have their World Baseball Classic crown, at last. Dominican Republic President Danilo Medina understood the magnitude of this victory, and made sure to call right away to offer his congratulations after his countrymen beat Puerto Rico 3-0 on Tuesday night.
"We appreciate that from the president," Jose Reyes said. "This win is all about the Dominican Republic. They were hungry waiting for this moment, and we did it."
Cheers of "Dominicana! Dominicana!" rang out through the rain at AT&T Park all the way to the lively streets of Santo Domingo.
That embarrassing first-round exit at the hands of the Netherlands in 2009, forget about it now.
"I had enough of the shame of not having the trophy like this," Pena said. "And, thank God this group of men was able to accomplish what we wanted, which is to put our country at the top in terms of baseball. This is the greatest gift we can give to our country."
Edwin Encarnacion hit a two-run double in the first inning that held up, and the Dominicans capped a dominant, unbeaten run through the WBC as the first winner not from Japan in the tournament’s short history.
"Tomorrow will be a national holiday," said Moises Alou, the proud Dominican general manager. "It was a tremendous win."
Robinson Cano earned MVP honors, Erick Aybar added an RBI double to back Deduno, who threw his arms into the air in delight after watching a run-saving defensive gem by center fielder 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.
It was fitting, too, perhaps, considering the World Series champion Giants clinched the NL pennant against the Cardinals in a downpour on this very field last fall.
Some 50,000 more supporters gathered to watch on televisions inside and outside of Estadio Quisqueya in the Dominican capital city.
"We want to enjoy every single moment, because we don’t know if this group will be together again. I doubt it," Pena said.
After Fernando Rodney struck out Luis Figueroa to end it, the Dominicans rushed the mound — each player waving his own flag. Well, Rodney held up his lucky plantain that served him well for the second straight day. He won’t eat this platano, which he said "is going to be my second trophy."
"This is my gold medal," he said. "It will be my black diamond, because it’s changing color. I kept telling everybody to relax and not to worry about (the pressure)."
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 is the son of former San Francisco skipper, Felipe.
No matter their team, Caribbeans had so much to cheer in the championship of a tournament missing the star-studded American team yet again. The U.S. failed to reach the final for the third time in as many WBCs.
And Puerto Rico eliminated two-time reigning Classic champion Japan with a 3-1 victory Sunday night to make in all-Caribbean final.
This game gave new meaning to the idea of a Caribbean championship.Next Page >
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