An All-Star lineup worked out to a first-round exit for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic.
The pre-tournament favorites, featuring a roster stacked with some of the biggest names in MLB, was eliminated in pool play on Wednesday after losing 5-2 to Puerto Rico. It was a do-or-die loss for both teams, but the D.R. came out flat and couldn't recover in front of a raucous Miami crowd with fans on both sides.
Puerto Rico got on the board with a four-run third inning that started with a solo homer by Christian Vázquez and followed with four straight singles. The exclamation point, however, came two innings later when Francisco Lindor notched a little-league home run courtesy of a misplay by Dominican center fielder Julio Rodríguez:
The play was officially scored as a single for Lindor and a three-base error for Rodríguez.
The firepower of the Dominican lineup meant it was hard to ever rule out a comeback, but the Puerto Rico bullpen proved itself as one of the strongest in the tournament. Eight different pitchers took the mound, capped off by closer Edwin Díaz.
Puerto Rico officially finishes second in Pool D at 3-1, behind only 4-0 Venezuela. It will advance to face Pool C winner Mexico in Miami on Saturday.