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Dominican Republic 4, Netherlands 1

The SportsXchange

SAN FRANCISCO -- Fittingly, three players from the only major league team outside the United States helped power the Dominican Republic to victory Monday night.

After all, it is the World Baseball Classic.

The Toronto Blue Jays' Moises Sierra, Jose Reyes and Edwin Encarnacion all had run-scoring hits during a four-run fifth inning that powered the Dominicans over the Netherlands 4-1 in a WBC semifinal at AT&T Park.

The Blue Jays trio helped the Dominican Republic turn the tables on Netherlands starter Diegomar Markwell, who allowed just two hits in four shutout innings before falling apart. The left-hander, ironically, was in Toronto's farm system for seven years before spending the past eight seasons in Honkbal Hoofdklasse, the Dutch professional league.

Cleveland Indians catcher Carlos Santana and Sierra, an outfielder, hit consecutive one-out doubles to produce the first run and tie the score at 1-1. Star shortstop Reyes then singled home Sierra with a bloop to center with two outs, putting the Dominicans ahead.

After a single by Kansas City Royals infielder Miguel Tejada moved Reyes to third, Markwell was pulled. Tom Stuifbergen entered and threw a wild pitch that allowed Reyes to score.

Encarnaction, a slugging first baseman, capped the inning with an RBI single.

Reyes and Tejada each had two of the Dominicans' nine hits.

The Dominicans are 7-0 in the tournament, setting a record for most consecutive wins in the WBC's three-edition history.

San Diego Padres right-hander Edinson Volquez overcame a rocky start to get the win, allowing only one run and two hits in five innings. He walked two and struck out five.

The two walks came to start the game, as Atlanta Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons and Texas Rangers infielder Jurickson Profar drew bases on balls. Simmons scored on a groundout by Wladimir Balentien, but the inning ended when Sierra made an outstanding defensive play. The Dominican left fielder chased down Andruw Jones' fly ball in foul territory while battling a fan also trying to make the catch, then tumbled into the stands.

Volquez retired 11 straight batters after the back-to-back walks.

The Royals' Kelvin Herrera, Rangers' Pedro Strop and the Tampa Bay Rays' Fernando Rodney combined on four scoreless relief innings to complete the four-hitter. Rodney has six saves in the tournament.

NOTES: Netherlands manager Hensley Meulens threw out a ceremonial first pitch along with Felipe Alou, and he was a fitting choice. Meulens is from the Dutch territory of Curacao, his mother is a native of the Dominican Republic, and he is the San Francisco Giants' hitting coach. Alou, a 77-year-old Dominican legend, was an All-Star player for the Giants and later managed the team. ... Puerto Rico will start right-hander Giancarlo Alvarado in the championship game. Alvardo has played professionally for 17 seasons without appearing in the major leagues. He is preparing for his fourth season in Japan. ... Weather could be a factor in the championship game, as the National Weather Service is forecasting a 60 percent chance of rain Tuesday night.
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