Dominican ends preparation with setback against Twins

The Dominican Republic concluded its preparation games for the 2023 World Baseball Classic on Thursday with a 2-1 defeat against the Minnesota Twins during a match held at Hammond Stadium.

It was the second and last friendly game of the tricolor troop that will open the tournament this Saturday against the Venezuelan squad.

Minnesota prevailed thanks to a formidable pitching that completely silenced the Dominican bats, who had produced nine runs and 14 hits the day before against the Atlanta Braves.

This Thursday there were only four hits produced by Jean Segura, Eloy Jiménez, Robinson Canó and Jeremy Peña.

The quisqueyanos put up resistance in the ninth act when Jeremy Peña connected a hit to the left field and due to an error by the patrolman Ismael Céspedes advanced to third, who then scored with a wild delivery by Oliver Ortega, a Dominican who later got the three outs, including Willy Adames ( fly out) and Gary Sánchez (strikeout) for the save.

Dominican starter Jhonny Cueto had three innings of two singles and one strikeout in an outing in which he threw 40 pitches, 20 of which were strikes.

Cueto was followed by Bryan Abreu (4), who took the loss by tolerating the Twins’ two rounds, one of them undeserved; Cesar Valdez (5); Hector Neris (6); Luis García (7) and the borrowed Francis Peguero (8).

The starter for Minnesota Sonny Gray was credited with the victory after a three-inning outing without hits or runs with four strikeouts against the powerful artillery from Quisqueyan.

Caleb Thielbar (4): Griffin Jax (5); Brent Headrick (sixth and two-thirds of seventh); Jeff Hoffman (one third of seventh and eighth) and Oliver Ortega (9).

Manager Rodney Linares moved his lineup again in the middle of the game and, among other changes, loaned the Twins’ Dominican prospects Ismael Pérez and Rubel Céspedes in the outfield for Eloy Jiménez and Julio Rodríguez, respectively.

The races

The Twins’ turnaround came in the fourth inning off reliever Bryan Abreu, who replaced Cueto. Abreu led off that act with a walk to Kyle Farmer, who robbed second base and missed shortstop Wander Franco’s throw to first off a groundout by Jose Miranda. Abreu then allowed a single to right to Joey Gallo to put Minnesota ahead 2-0. The Houston Astros reliever struck out Donovan Solano, walked Michael Taylor and grounded Ryan Jeffers into a double play started by third baseman Jaimer Candelario.

The team will now move to Miami, where tomorrow at 6:00 pm local time (7:00 in the Dominican Republic) they will complete their first training sessions at LoanDepot Park, the stadium that will serve as the main venue for the World Cup. The Dominican Republic will play all its matches there, even if it advances to the final of the tournament.

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