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Dominican Republic beats Kimbrel, U.S. to reach WBC semis

Mar 14, 2013, 10:31 PM EDT

R.A. Dickey Getty Images

Craig Kimbrel allowed a total of one double in 62 2/3 innings for the Braves last year. Maybe even more impressive, he allowed just one hit with a man in scoring position. He never allowed multiple hits in an inning.

On Thursday, he gave up one double and two hits with men in scoring position in the ninth to take the loss as the Dominican Republic defeated Team USA 3-1 to advance to the World Baseball Classic semifinals.

Team USA and Puerto Rico will meet in an elimination game Friday to determine who joins the Dominican Republic, Japan and The Netherlands in the semis.

Nelson Cruz opened the top of the ninth in a 1-1 game with a double to right. Giancarlo Stanton made a great play to cut the ball off, but he was forced to leave his feet to make the grab, allowing Cruz to proceed to second. After Carlos Santana moved Cruz along with a grounder to the right side, pinch-hitter Erick Aybar hit a line drive single to right to plate the go-ahead run.

Kimbrel bounced back to fan Aledjandro De Aza, but catcher J.P. Arencibia couldn’t complete the strike-him-out, throw-him-out double play as Aybar stole second. Jose Reyes then singled into center to make it 3-1, knocking Kimbrel from the game.

Fernando Rodney went on to pitch a perfect bottom of the ninth to seal the victory.

It was a bad time for Kimbrel to prove mortal after he fanned 116 batters in 62 2/3 innings last season. Still, it didn’t come as too big of a surprise for anyone who saw him struggling earlier this spring. Yet to find his breaking ball, he gave up four runs — three earned — in four innings, posting a 3/4 K/BB ratio, for the Braves before joining Team USA.

Until the Dominicans broke through, no runs had been scored since Hanley Ramirez‘s monster homer to left off R.A. Dickey in the second. Team USA got its only run on Eric Hosmer‘s bases-loaded walk in the first.

Team USA’s chances of advancing could now hinge on Ryan Vogelsong pitching well Friday. David Wright‘s status is uncertain for the game after he sat out with a balky back Thursday, though he said he would have preferred to play. Willie Bloomquist went 0-for-2 with a sac bunt as his replacement. He also committed an error at third base.

  1. sicklife1 - Mar 14, 2013 at 10:37 PM

    Does anyone really care? WBC is way overrated

    • dwrek5 - Mar 14, 2013 at 10:50 PM

      Ok, this is like the 20th posts on the WBC and yet we still get these comments.
      Yes, people care. Why are people so upset about that? #hatersgonnahate

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Mar 14, 2013 at 11:07 PM

        You were getting a thumbs up until that last part with the number sign.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 14, 2013 at 11:31 PM

        To review, actual numbers in your handle, acceptable. A number sign in a tag, not acceptable. Can you see the massive difference between the two kinds of grammatically incorrect language usage? One is a number. The other is a number sign. Totally different.

      • tuberippin - Mar 15, 2013 at 12:50 AM

        ^Just would like to point out that 1943 and 1971 are the birth and death years of Jim Morrison, whose moniker/anagram name was Mr. Mojo Risin. Thus, you get 1943mrmojorisin1971, the online handle equivalent of a tombstone that reads “Mr. Mojo Risin, 1943-1971″. That’s quite different than using the pound sign a) for something other than its original intent, and b) something stupid like pseudo-hashtagging.

        For someone purporting to be a ravenous follower of history, I would have thought you’d have picked up on that one quite easily.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 15, 2013 at 7:39 AM

        No, they’re the same difference, only for some reason, certain people get sniffy about using the one that requires the shift key.

      • bla bla bla - Mar 15, 2013 at 9:13 AM

        Wow… we got an “overrated” and a “hater’s gonna hate” all in the opening lines. All we need now is a “book it”, an “outlier” and a “sycophants” to complete The 2012 glossary of Internet Cool Kid Buzzwords.

        Well done, boys; well done.

  2. mscott4 - Mar 14, 2013 at 10:40 PM

    Great game.

    All those Kimbrel stats say to me is amazing season but can’t keep that up. Unfortunately he didn’t have it tonight. Why didn’t he go back to that slider after the horrible call? Throw it again and see if you get the call or the batter to chase.

  3. cur68 - Mar 14, 2013 at 10:48 PM

    Dominican Team was good when it counted. They are supremely talented to have hung with Team USA 1-1 for the whole game, but they caught the breaks and won the game in style: knocking around Craig Kimbrel’s best pitch. Gotta tip your hat to them.

    On a side note, how is it that Tony Peña isn’t managing an MLB team?

    • thomas844 - Mar 14, 2013 at 10:54 PM

      I agree about Pena. That move to pinch hit Aybar was the difference in this game.

      • jarathen - Mar 15, 2013 at 9:50 AM

        Scoscia tried that once and Aybar lost the game. It’s just baseball.

    • indaburg - Mar 14, 2013 at 11:03 PM

      I have no idea why he isn’t managing an MLB team. Peña was my recommendation to lead your beavermen (after Martinez).

      (Props for including the tilde over the ñ in his last name.)

      • cur68 - Mar 14, 2013 at 11:07 PM

        I love that little squiggle in Spanish names. And the little curvy bit on words like “soupçon”, too. In fact, I look forward to MLB’s first umlauted player. I’d blither about him non-stop just to keep throwing the ¨ out there.

      • Francisco (FC) - Mar 15, 2013 at 9:36 AM

        Where I come from we enjoy looking at curvy bits…

    • Kevin S. - Mar 14, 2013 at 11:06 PM

      In a lineup featuring six hitters ranging from “above-average” to “elite” in the majors, he had Miguel Tejada’s corpse penciled in to the two-hole. That’s why.

      • cur68 - Mar 14, 2013 at 11:10 PM

        I see your “Miguel Odalis Tejada” had raise you a “Jonathan Paul Arencibia”. If Torre can manage a club its for DAMN sure Peña could, too.

      • Kevin S. - Mar 14, 2013 at 11:16 PM

        What club is Joe Torre managing for, again?

      • Kevin S. - Mar 14, 2013 at 11:18 PM

        Don’t think I haven’t been all over Torre this tournament.

      • cur68 - Mar 14, 2013 at 11:33 PM

        Given that you’re aware of Torre’s managerial history, I think you know the answer. Given that Torre has held those jobs, I think its a bit puzzling that Peña, who clearly can outmanage Torre and everyone else thus far in the WBC, hasn’t EVER held one of those jobs.

      • Kevin S. - Mar 15, 2013 at 12:54 AM

        He managed the Royals for three and a half years.

      • cur68 - Mar 15, 2013 at 1:04 AM

        Dammit, man! Quite sidestepping the issue! You know I mean “MLB Team”.

        (To the people of the Great State of Kansas, especially those of you who were nice to me and my friends, I humbly apologize for this insult to your proud and noble team. I can only say in my defence that I forgot about those years Tony was your team’s manager. I’m sure you would like to forget them, and the 198-285 record, as well)

      • paperlions - Mar 15, 2013 at 7:58 AM

        Um……psst, Cur….hey, um….KC is in Missouri, not Kansas.

      • indaburg - Mar 15, 2013 at 8:31 AM

        Missouri, Kansas. They’re both mythological places to cur.

        You forgot about his time in KC? He did great the one season when he won Manager of the Year and led them to their first winning record in like forever, and then things fell apart. He quit because he didn’t like the decisions being made.

      • Francisco (FC) - Mar 15, 2013 at 9:39 AM

        Well parts of it are in Kansas, so he can be forgiven for that. Surely not the first time someone makes a mistake like that.

      • Francisco (FC) - Mar 15, 2013 at 9:40 AM

        And I mean the populated area, The actual city is split along the state border (it’s kind of odd).

      • Francisco (FC) - Mar 15, 2013 at 9:43 AM

        OTOH I’m pretty sure lots of folks from across the border in Kansas City, Kansas are big fans of the Royals.

      • sportsdrenched - Mar 15, 2013 at 10:22 AM

        Ya’ll are touching on a lot of nerves in this comment thread. Not mine per se, I’ve gotton over the Civil War. However, there some bushwhackers that take offense to you locating the Royals in Kansas. They’d be mad enough to send their border ruffians to burn your house down. Never mind the fact that the majority of Royals and Chiefs season ticket holders do reside in Kansas. I also read something in one of those sports business journal things that said the Royals are the only professional sports team where the majority of it’s fanbase resides outside of the state that it plays.

        Yes, the KC Metro Area straddles the state line. Kansas City, MO the municipality is a different muni than Kansas City, KS. They just have the same name.

        As for Tony Pena’s time in Kansas City. There were some good times. Like 2003. Then there was 2004 where he resigned after a game in Toronto and flew to the DR….he was also subpeaned in a divorce case while this was going on.

      • manchestermiracle - Mar 15, 2013 at 10:34 AM

        FC:

        Not really that odd. The city is split by the Kansas and Missouri rivers and began as a settlement (French, as part of the Louisiana Territory) long before the two states were formed with the Missouri as the dividing line.

        The first battlefield in the Civil War due to Missouri being pro-slavery and Kansas a free state.

        Originally proposed town names included Port Fonda, Rabbitville and Possum Trot.

  4. thomas844 - Mar 14, 2013 at 10:51 PM

    Goes to show how important that first inning was. USA couldn’t come through with the bases loaded and it cost them. Credit to DR though they played much better under pressure. Though I was rooting for the USA, it was cool to see the enthusiasm that the DR team and their fans had today. That kind of enthusiasm should hopefully quiet some of the haters who say the WBC is pointless.

    • dwrek5 - Mar 14, 2013 at 10:57 PM

      Huge pitch on the 30th pitch of the inning. Painted the inside corner, don’t think Jones could have fouled it off even if he did swing.

  5. kjericho43 - Mar 14, 2013 at 11:10 PM

    Never seen anyone hit Kimbrel. Ever. Is he rusty? Maybe. Bad pitch selection. Great game though. Bloomquist at 3rd? Really? I’d like to see OUR best players (bench too) in there, that’s all. Otherwise, beyond entertaining. Good baseball. Love it.

    • thomas844 - Mar 14, 2013 at 11:26 PM

      I think the DR players were so pumped up they could have hit against anyone, even if it is the best closer in the world.

  6. alexandercartwright - Mar 14, 2013 at 11:20 PM

    Game falls on Kimbrel’s arm however Giancarlo Stanton really dropped the ball in the 5th spot replacing David Wright. The 8th inning with Mauer on 1st & Stanton striking out really was huge for a guy that is expected to provide power while playing in his home ballpark.

  7. fearthehoody - Mar 14, 2013 at 11:43 PM

    WBC will never be taken seriously. Put it on right after World Series, NFL destroys it. Keep it where its at, and you get MLB Clubs and contracts killing it. And we will continue to root for a USA B-team

    • dondada10 - Mar 14, 2013 at 11:58 PM

      I’d say the worst thing about the WBC is it give ignoramuses an opportunity to lament a good thing ad nauseam.

    • gza385 - Mar 15, 2013 at 9:21 AM

      Go back to PFT and continue fellating Belichick once Florio is done

  8. eagles512 - Mar 15, 2013 at 12:11 AM

    I’d root for North Korea or Cuba over DR after acting like little leaguers tonight.

    • edmata - Mar 15, 2013 at 12:42 AM

      So you don’t like it when a person or group of person show the passion that they have for the sport?

      that’s what i love about the DR. They show the passion that they have for the game, unlike other team.

      This is what the WBC is about: represent your country and show your devotion to the game.

    • tuberippin - Mar 15, 2013 at 12:54 AM

      I’d rather have a Dominican team full of lively, energetic star players who play with a passion for the game, than a United States team that struggles just to get its top stars in the MLB to play for the team in the WBC.

  9. Stiller43 - Mar 15, 2013 at 12:23 AM

    WBC sucks anyway. Bring on april!

  10. mungman69 - Mar 15, 2013 at 2:54 AM

    Japan will win again. The Netherlands? Wooden shoes, tulips, windmills. Baseball?

  11. jimmymarlinsfan - Mar 15, 2013 at 3:34 AM

    Players in the Braves organization, proving themselves to be as unclutch as possible since 1995

    • moogro - Mar 15, 2013 at 4:11 PM

      Lonnie Smith

  12. proudlycanadian - Mar 15, 2013 at 7:17 AM

    The Dominican Republic has a very good team. As we all know, in a single game anything can happen. The US is still not out of this competition.

  13. jssgriffi - Mar 15, 2013 at 7:43 AM

    Kimbrel sucks!! Maybe he should throw one more straight fastball in the middle of the plate. Idiot

  14. eagles512 - Mar 15, 2013 at 7:47 AM

    I have no problem with enthusiasm. But it’s another thing to act like idiots. Maybe if guys like Reyes seemed to care that much during the season, they would be better players.

  15. oldpaddy - Mar 15, 2013 at 7:56 AM

    wbc? Who cares?
    Wake me up when spring training is over.

  16. hojo20 - Mar 15, 2013 at 7:58 AM

    How come Verlander or Kershaw aren’t pitching the in this must win game, instead of Volegsong?

    • indaburg - Mar 15, 2013 at 8:45 AM

      You’ll have to ask Verlander or Kershaw why.

  17. delsj - Mar 15, 2013 at 8:47 AM

    Good article, Matthew. Were you originally assigned to write it or did you have to jump in for an uncontrollably sobbing Craig after that 9th inning?

  18. louhudson23 - Mar 15, 2013 at 9:24 AM

    So,to recap:
    -there is no shortage of people who care about and enjoy the WBC.
    -there is no shortage of fools who continue to ignore clear evidence of the above and idiotically continue to post the words”nobody cares” instead of “I don’t care” which in turn is idiotic in and of itself,since if they truly don’t care,they would ignore and not post such drivel….
    -I care and I enjoy,as apparently does everyone else who comments without saying “nobody cares”..

  19. sportsdrenched - Mar 15, 2013 at 10:32 AM

    For those of you who don’t like the WBC, what’s not to like? I assume you like baseball, you’re reading HarballTalk. Look at those rosters, you’re not going to see that kind of talent on one roster when the season starts. It’s like an All-Star Game Tournament.

  20. deathmonkey41 - Mar 15, 2013 at 10:56 AM

    An Atlanta Braves player choking in a big game situation? Has that ever happened before?

  21. maritime85 - Mar 15, 2013 at 7:27 PM

    Not even the best closer ithe game can bail dickey out

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