The Dominican Republic came out on top in the third edition of the World Baseball Classic, shutting out Puerto Rico 3-0 in the final to complete its undefeated run to the championship.
The Dominican squad - on a mission this year after being eliminated in the first round in 2009 - became the first Latin American side to win this international competition, which Japan had dominated until this year.
Edwin Encarnacion got the Caribbean nation off to a fast start in the bottom of the first inning of Tuesday night’s all-Caribbean matchup at AT&T Park in San Francisco, hitting a double off Puerto Rican starter Giancarlo Alvarado that drove in Jose Reyes and Robinson Cano.
The score remained 2-0 until the bottom of the fifth inning, when Erick Aybar hit a double off reliever Hiram Burgos to drive in Alejandro De Aza from second base.
Meanwhile, Dominican starter Samuel Deduno struck out five and gave up two hits and three walks over five scoreless innings en route to the win.
Four relievers - Octavio Dotel, Pedro Strop, Santiago Casilla and closer Fernando Rodney - then worked the final four innings to preserve the shutout.
Rodney, who struck out the final two Puerto Rican batters to clinch the victory, was dominant throughout the 2013 World Baseball Classic, not allowing a single run over 7 1/3 innings while striking out eight and giving up three walks.
Cano, a star second-baseman for the New York Yankees who hit .469 throughout the competition - including four doubles and two home runs - to lead his country to eight wins, was named the tournament’s MVP.
Alvarado, who lasted just one inning after giving up two doubles and a pair of runs, took the loss for Puerto Rico, which was defeated three times by the Dominican Republic during the course of this year’s World Baseball Classic.
Thousands of people poured into the streets of Santo Domingo late Tuesday to celebrate the victory.
“In Rome, Habemus Papam and in the Dominican Republic we have gold! We have gold!” one fan shouted while enjoying the victory at the Dominican capital’s Quisqueya stadium, where a big screen had been set up for the occasion.