It took over four hours but the Dominican Republic got the job done. It was a crucial game for both the Dominican Republic and Venezuela as both clubs were fighting to take control of their fate in round two of the World Baseball Classic and escape the brink of elimination.
A name we could hear this April as a Padres pitcher, Jhoulys Chacin was on the hill for Venezuela Thursday night. The righty faced a lineup that looked more like an all-star team. Chacin handled it well giving up just one run in 4 1/3 innings, but it was a big one. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Dominican Republic's Gregory Polanco hit a solo shot to right center field to give his team a one run advantage.
In the top of the seventh inning Padres infielder Yangervis Solarte made an appearance for Venezuela. Solarte got his first hit of the tournament with a single to right field and advanced to second on a passed ball.
Up 2-0 in the eighth, Nelson Cruz was back at it for the Dominicans. He hit a solo home run, his third of the tournament, and gave the defending champs a 3-0 lead.
Venezuela tried to rally late in the ninth. Mets’ righty Jeurys Familia struck out the side leaving runners stranded in the corners. Team Dominican Republic shut out Venezuela 3-0 and is back in the running to advance to the semifinals.
Team USA takes on Puerto Rico Friday night at 7:00 p.m.