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World Baseball Classic 2017 results: Puerto Rico wins semifinal in 11, advances to final

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In a exciting, plodding, maddening contest, Puerto Rico ran away with the victory

After nine wild innings, we still didn’t have a winner. It took until the 11th inning but Puerto Rico took down the Netherlands, 4-3, to advance to the World Baseball Classic finals for the second time in their history. They await the winner of Tuesday’s match-up between the United States and Japan. Puerto Rico remains undefeated in the 2017 WBC.

In a game that featured questionable baserunning, incredible baserunning, huge home runs, and stupendous defense, it was the—ahem—controversial tournament extra innings rule that ultimately made the difference. In order to protect pitchers and limit long games, teams start every inning from the 11th inning on with runners on first and second. That usually means a sac bunt to move the runners over and an intentional walk to create a force at every base. The Dutch were unable to capitalize in the top of the 11th, but Puerto Rico got an Eddie Rosario sacrifice fly that scored Astros shortstop Carlos Correa to send them into the championship game on Wednesday night.

It had every mark of a strange game right from the onset. Andrelton Simmons hit a lead off single for the Netherlands to start the game followed by Xander Bogaerts getting hit by a pitch. With Jurickson Profar at the plate, Puerto Rican catcher Yadier Molina backpicked to second and caught Simmons in a rundown before he was tagged out. Profar managed a hit but got a little too excited:

And that turned out to be a shame for the Netherlands because human dinger machine Wladimir Balentien stepped to the plate and unleashed a monster home run to make it 2-0, Netherlands. It didn’t stay that way for long, though, as Carlos Correa, who is having quite the WBC himself, did this to a baseball to tie the game at 2:

Mets farmhand T.J. Rivera hit a solo home run in the bottom of the second to make it 3-2, Puerto Rico. The baserunning exploits weren’t done, though. The score was still 3-2 in the bottom of the fourth, Cubs utilityman Javier Baez tried to steal third and was called out on the tag. But, when you see the video, you can see why the call was overturned:

The Puerto Ricans were unable to score, though, and the Dutch made them pay in the very next half inning. Wladimir Balentien hit a two out double off the very top of the wall left-center and Hector Santiago was intentionally walked for Shawn Zarraga. He hit the ball of the top of the wall in left-center, scoring Balentien, but then Puerto Rico strung together this majestic relay to cut down Santiago at the plate.

That play kept the score at 3-3 and, despite both teams clogging the bases, so it remained through the 10th. Mariners closer Edwin Diaz brought his nasty 98+ mph heat against Balentien and, after coming up and in on him twice, Balentien started jawing at Diaz and the benches (kinda) cleared (for a minute), though nothing came of it.

We’ll have a full preview of Tuesday’s semifinal tomorrow.

Semifinal Schedule for Tuesday, March 21

United States vs. Japan

Location: Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California

Time: 7 pm MT

TV: MLB Network

Steaming: MLV.tv

Championship Round

WBC Championship Schedule

Date Team vs Team Time Venue
Date Team vs Team Time Venue
Semifinals
March 20 Netherlands (3) vs Puerto Rico (4) F/11 Dodger Stadium
March 21 United States (2) vs Japan (1) F Dodger Stadium
Finals
March 22 United States vs Puerto Rico 7:00 pm MT Dodger Stadium

Second Round Recap

WBC Pool E Schedule and Results

Date Team v Team Time Venue
Date Team v Team Time Venue
March 11 Cuba (1) vs Israel (4) Tokyo Dome
March 12 Japan (8) vs Netherlands (6) Tokyo Dome
March 13 Netherlands (12) vs Israel (2) Tokyo Dome
March 14 Cuba (5) vs Japan (8) Tokyo Dome
March 14 Netherlands (14) vs Cuba (1) Tokyo Dome
March 15 Israel (3) vs Japan (8) Tokyo Dome

Pool E Standings

Rank Team Wins Losses Runs Scored Runs Allowed
Rank Team Wins Losses Runs Scored Runs Allowed
1 Japan 3 0 24 14
2 Netherlands 2 1 32 11
3 Israel 1 2 9 21
4 Cuba 0 3 7 26

WBC Pool F Schedule and Results

Date Team v Team Time Venue
Date Team v Team Time Venue
March 14 Dominican Republic (1) vs Puerto Rico (3) Petco Park
March 15 Venezuela (2) vs United States (4) Petco Park
March 16 Venezuela (0) vs Dominican Republic (3) Petco Park
March 17 United States (5) vs Puerto Rico (6) Petco Park
March 18 Puerto Rico (13) vs Venezuela (2) Petco Park
March 18 United States (6) vs Dominican Republic (3) Petco Park
March 19 TBD TBD N/A Petco Park

Pool F Standings

Rank Team Wins Losses Runs Scored Runs Allowed
Rank Team Wins Losses Runs Scored Runs Allowed
1 Puerto Rico 3 0 22 8
2 United States 2 1 15 11
3 Dominican Republic 1 2 7 9
4 Venezuela 0 3 4 20