SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Edwin Encarnacion hit a two-run double in the first inning that held up, helping the Dominican Republic cap an unbeaten run through the World Baseball Classic with a 3-0 win over Puerto Rico in Tuesday's final.
The Dominican Republic has its World Baseball Classic crown, at last.
"Tomorrow will be a national holiday," said Moises Alou, the Dominican general manager. "It was a tremendous win."
Robinson Cano earned MVP honors, Erick Aybar added an RBI double to back winner Samuel Deduno, and the demonstrative Dominican threw his arms into the air in delight after watching a run-saving defensive gem by center fielder Alejandro De Aza in a tough fifth.
The Dominican fans didn't let the Bay Area's wet weather keep them from dancing in the stands, waving flags and tooting horns. Flags became makeshift ponchos.
The celebrations spread to the Dominican capital, where some 50,000 more supporters gathered to watch on giant televisions inside and outside of Estadio Quisqueya.
Now the Dominicans get their long-awaited fiesta, a party they figured to have in 2009 until the Netherlands spoiled the plan by beating them twice for a stunning first-round exit.
After Fernando Rodney struck out Luis Figueroa to end it, the Dominicans rushed the mound — each player waving his own flag.
The Dominicans, with eight consecutive wins, clinched the title it in the very city where countrymen Felipe, Jesus and the late Matty Alou made history in 1963 when they appeared in the same Giants outfield for several games. Moises Alou, son of former San Francisco skipper Felipe, is the Dominican general manager.
No matter their team, Caribbeans had so much to cheer in the championship of a tournament missing the star-studded American team yet again. The U. S. failed to reach the final for the third time in as many WBCs.
Puerto Rico eliminated two-time Classic champion Japan with a 3-1 victory Sunday night to make in all-Caribbean final.
This game gave new meaning to the idea of a Caribbean championship.
Deduno followed up a fine outing in a win against the Americans last Thursday with another strong performance that will send him back to the Minnesota Twins with some nice momentum.
Deduno struck out five in five scoreless innings, allowing two hits and walking three to finish with a 0.69 ERA for the tournament. And Rodney struck out two and finished for his seventh save as the bullpen closed out this special run with 25 2-3 scoreless innings. The relievers didn't allow a run after the fourth inning of their first-round victory against Puerto Rico on March 10 in San Juan.
"I'm excited and I'm thrilled," said reliever Santiago Casilla, who won the WBC title and World Series championship in all of about five months.
In the top of the fifth, the grounds crew scurried out to rake the mound after it became slippery in the rain and Deduno walked Alex Rios on five pitches to lead off the inning.
After Carlos Rivera flied out, De Aza ran down Andy Gonzalez's long fly to the gap in left-center and made a reaching snag at the warning track with his back to the infield.
Deduno then walked Jesus Feliciano. Pena paid the pitcher a mound visit but stuck with him, and Deduno struck out Angel Pagan swinging after falling behind 2-0. Deduno pumped his fists again as he charged off the mound and was surrounded by celebratory teammates.
In the bottom half, De Aza did it with his bat. He ended an 0-for-12 stretch when he laid down a perfect bunt single toward third.
The Dominicans became the first unbeaten WBC champion, beating Team Puerto Rico for the third time in this Classic.
And now they earn the distinction of world champion, too — the first time in WBC history.
Cano had a big hand in it.
The New York Yankees star finished his sensational Classic batting .469 (15 for 32) with two home runs, six RBIs, six runs scored and two doubles.
He also earned MVP honors in each of the first two rounds. Encarnacion finished with six RBIs in the WBC.
"I'll tell you one thing: Tonight we're going to celebrate, tomorrow we're going to celebrate, and Thursday we're going to worry about spring training," Cano said.
After drawing a pair of intentional walks a night earlier, Cano had another in the first inning against loser Giancarlo Alvarado.
The Puerto Rican right-hander surrendered Encarnacion's double two pitches later, and was done after one shaky inning featuring 22 pitches and only 10 strikes.
Hiram Burgos relieved and struck out five in 4 2-3 innings.
Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig was among those to attend the game — available on television to 440 million households worldwide in 200 countries and territories, and in 15 languages — that drew 35,703 fans on a cool, drizzly March night at AT&T Park.
NOTES: The Puerto Ricans were 0 for 11 with runners in scoring position. ... Attendance for the three games in the Giants' ballpark was 96,913 for a tournament total of 885,212. That surpassed the previous record of 801,410 in 2009. ... ... Japan's loss to Puerto Rico on Sunday was watched by 51 percent of potential viewers in Japan, MLB said. It was the largest share for any of Japan's WBC games this year. The game also was the most-watched sporting event in the past year in Puerto Rico, with the final moments getting a 74 share.