Netherlands-Chinese Taipei gave us the WBC's first walk-off and one wild, wacky ending
In just its first few days, the 2017 World Baseball Classic has just about had it all, from dingers to defense to, most important, lots and lots of drums. But there's been one thing missing: Despite plenty of late-inning dramatics, this WBC had yet to see a walk-off. Luckily, the Netherlands decided to check that box against Chinese Taipei on Wednesday -- but not before a whole bunch of shenanigans ensued. Behind a two-run double from shortstop Didi Gregorius -- just one member of arguably the flyest infield in international baseball -- the Dutch jumped out to a 4-2 lead. But Chinese Taipei stormed back with three runs in the fifth, and the teams entered the bottom of the ninth tied at 5 ... at which point, things got weird.
After Dashenko Ricardo and Randolph Oduber reached base to start the inning, Andrelton Simmons (look, we told you this infield was awesome) stepped to the plate with the winning run in scoring position. He slapped a ground ball into center field, and the Netherlands dugout prepared for an old-fashioned walk-off party -- without realizing that Ricardo had been held at third.
For a minute, it looked like that decision would be a huge break for Chinese Taipei. The next batter, Jurickson Profar, appeared to have flown out to shallow right -- not nearly deep enough to get a run home -- until it was ruled that the runner on second had actually been granted time just before the swing. A few pitches later, the Netherlands finally got its celebration:
Profar could not escape without facing the dreaded postgame shower:
The win moved the Dutch team to 2-0 and advanced them to the second round of the tournament.