History! Puerto Rico achieved perfect match and knockout against Israel
Enrique RojasESPN Digital Senior WriterReading: 3 min.
MIAMI, Florida – Right-hander Jose de Leon and four relievers combined to throw the first perfect game in World Classic history in Puerto Rico’s 10-0 knockout victory over Israel on Monday at Lone DePo Stadium in Miami.
Francisco Lindor, Javier Baez and Gig Hernandez drove in seven of 10 runs for Puerto Rico, including three doubles and two triples in those 11 hits.
De Leon, of the Minnesota Twins in the Major Leagues, retired all 17 batters he faced, including 10 with a strikeout, a record for a Puerto Rican pitcher in the World Classic. The right-hander had 64 pitches (under a limit in the first round of the tournament) and two outs in the sixth inning, when he was relieved by manager Yadier Molina.
Yaxel Rios was the last out in the sixth, star Edwin Diaz retired three batters in the seventh and Duane Underwood Jr. in the third. Under the event’s mercy rule, the game was declared over when Puerto Rico took a 10-run lead in the top of the eighth.
Another no-hitter, no-run game in World Classic history was accomplished. Shiron Martis pitched seven perfect innings (one runner reached on an error) in the Netherlands’ knockout victory over Panama on March 10, 2006 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Lindor, of the New York Mets, had a triple and a single and drove in three runs. The Detroit Tigers’ shortstop hit two doubles and drove in a couple of runs. Hernandez, of the Boston Red Sox, had a double and a single and two RBIs.
Third baseman Emmanuel Rivera was 2-for-3 with a triple and an RBI and outfielder Eddie Rosario had a double and an RBI.
Houston Astros lefty Colton Gordon struck out four in the first inning to take the loss.
Puerto Rico went 2-1 behind Venezuela (2-0) and ahead of Israel (1-1), Dominican Republic (1-1) and Nicaragua (0-3). The top two teams in the group will host the top two teams in Group C in Miami for the quarterfinals on Friday and Saturday.
On Tuesday, Venezuela will face relegated Nicaragua in the afternoon, while the Jews and Quisqueños will battle it out at night. If the Dominican Republic wins, Wednesday’s game against Puerto Rico will be their ticket to the next round.
“We are focusing on today’s game, one game at a time. You have to be ready to play today. After today we will focus on the next game against the Dominican Republic,” Molina said before the game.
“We have a daily plan with pitching. Today was almost perfect, but all my pitchers are ready. [para el juego contra Israel]. Mars needs to win to get there [con posibilidades] against Puerto Rico,” Dominican Republic helmsman Rodney Linares said after Monday’s 6-1 win over Nicaragua.