(Photo: Amanda Fewer)
MIAMI – Wellington Castillo and Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista both homered as the Dominican Republic used a 15-hit attack to defeat Canada, 9-2 to open Pool C at the World Baseball Classic.
“That's a pretty good ball club they ran out there tonight, “ said Canadian Manager Ernie Whitt. “There's no soft spot, that's for sure.”
Dominican Republic 9 Canada 2
With the Dominicans up by one in the second inning, Canadian starter Ryan Dempster (Gibsons, BC) gave up a two run homer to Castillo before Bautista singled to score Jose Reyes. Dempster came out of the game after the second having thrown 49 pitches.
“I thought he threw the ball fine,” said Whitt of his starter. “They got some hits that made it through the infield. That's a fast infield out there.”
Canada got on the scoreboard in the third when Jonathan Malo (Joliette, QC) reached on an error and later scored from third on a balk call. Reliever Andrew Albers (North Battleford, SK) then provided two shutout innings in behind Dempster retiring six of the seven batters he faced before Canada pulled to within two runs of the lead after Dalton Pompey’s (Mississauga, ON) RBI double cashed in Malo in the fifth.
After the Dominicans scored a run in the home half of the fifth, Dustin Molleken (Regina, SK) allowed a three run shot to Bautista that put Canada into a deep hole.
“Like I said, there's no soft spot in the lineup,” added Whitt. “You make one mistake and they're going to hurt you.”
Canada will have an off day workout on Friday before facing a must-win contest against Colombia on Saturday with a match-up looming against the United States on Sunday evening.
“I'm proud of the guys,” said Whitt. “We hung in there and a couple mistakes, but overall have a practice tomorrow and ready to play on Saturday.”
Saturday’s game against Colombia will see RHP Nick Pivetta (Victoria, BC) start on the mound against RHP Julio Tehran. First pitch is set for 12:08pm ET with the game available in Canada on Sportsnet.