The Cinderella story of this year's World Baseball Classic finally turned back into a pumpkin Monday night.
The Netherlands jumped out to an early 1-0 in their semifinal match-up with the Dominican Republic, but -- to take the analogy over the cliff -- the clock struck midnight for the overachieving Honkbalers in a fateful fifth inning, resulting in a 4-1 victory for the still-undefeated Dominican squad.
Dominican right-hander Edinson Volquez got off to a shaky start at AT&T Park Monday evening, walking the first two batters of the game and surrendering a run on a groundout from Wladimir Balentien, but was able to settle into a groove from there on out. Volquez spread two singles over five innings of work, while striking out five, keeping the Netherlands offense at bay long enough for the DR offense to come alive and give him a W.
Netherlands southpaw Diegomar Markwell equalled Volquez for the first four frames, but couldn't keep the powerful Dominican offense off the board in the fifth. Back-to-back one-out doubles from Carlos Santana and Moises Sierra knotted the game at one, then Jose Reyes delivered the decisive blow with a two-out, RBI single to center, giving the DR a lead they would never relinquish.
After another two-out single from Miguel Tejada, putting runners on the corners, Markwell finally got the hook. Righty reliever Tom Stuifbergen came in to limit the damage but couldn't do it. Two more runs came in on a wild pitch and a single to center off the bat of Edwin Encarnacion, resulting in a 4-1 lead for the Dominicans.
The powerful bullpen trio of Kelvin Herrera, Pedro Strop, and Fernando Rodney -- who have yet to give up a run in the tournament -- shut down the Netherlands for the final four innings, sealing their team's spot in Tuesday's final against Puerto Rico.
All World Baseball Classic Scores:
Dominican Republic 4, Netherlands 1
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