Puerto Rico Throws 1st Perfect Game in World Baseball Classic History vs. Israel

Puerto Rico Throws 1st Perfect Game in World Baseball Classic History vs. Israel
Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekTwitter LogoFeatured Columnist IVMarch 14, 2023

MIAMI, FLORIDA - MARCH 13: Jose De Leon #87 of Puerto Rico throws a pitch during the first inning against Israel at loanDepot park on March 13, 2023 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)

Eric Espada/Getty Images

Puerto Rico bounced back from its loss to Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic in dramatic fashion on Monday.

Puerto Rico threw a combined “perfect” game in its 10-0 victory over Israel that lasted eight innings. The victors walked it off in the eighth inning, as games in the WBC can be called if a team is leading by 10 or more runs after the seventh inning.

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WALK OFF. PERFECT GAME.

A historic performance for Team Puerto Rico 🇵🇷 pic.twitter.com/FGKQic4cxH

ESPN’s Jeff Passan noted it was the first perfect game in WBC history. José De León, Yacksel Ríos, Edwin O Díaz and Duane Underwood Jr. combined to pitch the eight innings.

De León shined the brightest as the starter, notching 10 strikeouts in 5.2 innings before getting pulled before he hit the 65-pitch limit. Ríos closed out the sixth, Díaz threw a perfect seventh and Underwood closed things out in the eighth.

It seemed like Puerto Rico might have needed to pitch one more inning to finish out the perfect game, but Enrique Hernández’s RBI single scored Martín Maldonado and ended the game.

Puerto Rico scored three runs in the first, second and fifth innings to break the game open, which was more than enough run support for the dominant pitching performance.

There is no shortage of Major League Baseball star power on the Puerto Rico roster, as Javier Báez’s two-run double in the first started the scoring, Hernández’s two-run double in the second added to the lead and Francisco Lindor’s three-run triple in the sixth continued the blowout.

The offense alone may be talented enough to take home the WBC title, as it also scored nine runs in the opener against Nicaragua and six runs in the loss to Venezuela.

If the pitching performs like it did Monday, Puerto Rico will be that much more dangerous. Next up is a crucial contest against the Dominican Republic on Wednesday.

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