NEW YORK– Let’s cut to the chase: Team Venezuela is no joke. José Altuve, Ronald Acuña Jr. and the Venezuelan squad picked up right where they left off from Saturday night’s victory over Team Dominican Republic to Sunday evening. In the second game of their Pool D play, Team Venezuela defeated Team Puerto Rico by a final score of 9-6 to move to 2-0, and currently sit in first place throughout the group.
Once home plate umpire Chris Guccione said ‘Play Ball,’ Venezuela zoned in, and focused on their mission, scoring four runs in the top of the first inning. Salvador Perez began Venezuela’s tacking on the scoreboard, by delivering Altuve in with an opposite field single, and moving Acuña Jr., who reached on a walk, over from first to third base.
Salvy drives in Altuve 🇻🇪
Venezuela is off to an hot start 🔥
📺: FS1 and the FOX Sports App pic.twitter.com/fnU7azxjfp
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) March 12, 2023
Anthony Santander followed up with a three-run home run off Puerto Rico’s starter José Berríos, scoring Perez, and Acuña Jr., which had a record attendance of 35, 615 at loanDepot Park morph into a frenzy.
— World Baseball Classic (@WBCBaseball) March 12, 2023
And if that wasn’t enough, Venezuela totaled seven runs in the first two innings and forced Puerto Rico to pull Berríos earlier than what was expected. Berríos faced 11 batters, totaled 38 pitches across one inning, and was responsible for allowing six runs on five hits, two walks, (one HR).
Venezuela’s Pablo López, displayed his dominance on the mound, allowing one run while completing 4.2 innings of two hit ball with six strikeouts.
Superb start from Venezuela right-hander Pablo López 👏👏 pic.twitter.com/NGLk9lbcJE
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) March 13, 2023
“I know what it means to wear the Venezuelan jersey, I was very proud,” López said. “We’re here just not representing ourselves as individuals, but an entire community, the next generation of players, and then it’s a wonderful feeling.”
“I really can’t describe it. I get goosebumps thinking about it because it’s just very surreal.”
Overall, the 7-0 deficit suffered in the first two innings was too much for Puerto Rico to overcome. Though ‘Team Rubio’ fought back on several occasions with runners in scoring position, Venezuela laid their firepower out on the diamond, and shut the door on any comeback.
Relievers Andres Machado, Jhoulys Chacín, and Silvino Bracho led the stable in the bullpen, allowing five hits across 4.1 innings. Bracho forced a clutch double play in the eighth to escape a jam and earned the save, retiring the final five batters of the game.
— World Baseball Classic (@WBCBaseball) March 13, 2023
“There is no rest,” Team Venezuela manager Omar López said. “The guys are committed, and they want to win.”
Puerto Rico (1-1) faces Team Israel (1-0) on Monday evening at 7:00pm ET – broadcast on FS1 (Fox Sports 1).
Venezuela (2-0) will take on Team Nicaragua (0-2), Tuesday afternoon at 12:00pm ET – broadcast on FS2 (Fox Sports 2).
Follow our Social Media @latinosportsoficial on Instagram & @latinosports on Twitter for updates and exclusive content
Robert Rizzo is a journalist and co-editor of Latino Sports
Watch Sports with Rich live on Tuesday Nights at 8pm EST on The SLG Network/Youtube with host Rich Mancuso and co-host Robert Rizzo
/ 5 hours ago
IT’S SANDY’S WORLD, WE’RE JUST LIVING IN IT! This past ‘Taco Tuesday,’ prior to...
/ 12 hours ago
“All life is a joke. Being born, dying…..What a joke!”… Miguel Gila. Coral Gables,...
/ 20 hours ago
The following was released on MLB.com on Thursday September 21st — Texas Rangers to...