Melky's RBI lifts DR over Mexico in Tokyo

July 30th, 2021

After a heartbreaking loss to Japan in the Olympic opener, the Dominican Republic bounced back to defeat Mexico 1-0 for their first win of the tournament early Friday.

Pitching was the story of the game as both Teddy Stankiewicz of Mexico and Angel Sanchez of the D.R. were sharp early on. Stankiewicz went 4 2/3 innings in his start, striking out five while allowing one run on six hits and a walk. Sanchez gave the D.R. five scoreless innings, allowing just two hits.

The Dominican bullpen came in and shut the door, as Ramon Rosso, Dario Alvarez and Jumbo Diaz each worked a scoreless inning and Luis Castillo tossed a perfect ninth to record the save and complete the shutout. The Mexican bullpen was solid as well, with Fernando Salas and Daniel Duarte working 3 1/3 scoreless.

Melky Cabrera drove in the only run of the ballgame in the fifth inning, smashing an RBI single to the wall in left field. The 15-year MLB veteran went 1-for-4 at the plate batting out of the second spot of the order. Mariners’ No. 2 prospect Julio Rodríguez was a catalyst for the Dominican offense as well, going 3-for-4 batting behind Cabrera.

The Dominican Republic got it done in all aspects. José Bautista showed he can still make the highlight reels in the sixth inning, unleashing a heck of a throw from left field to nab Isaac Garcia at home. Emilio Bonifacio followed that two batters later with a running catch at the wall to end the inning.

There was a scary moment in the third inning involving Dominican second baseman Gustavo Nuñez and Rodríguez, who started in right field, as the two collided trying to make the play on a fly ball to shallow right. Both players stayed down for a couple of minutes before returning to their feet. Nuñez later exited the game in the top half of the fourth. 

Mexico will face Japan in their next game on Friday at 11 p.m. ET, while the D.R. will await the opening of the knockout stages on Sunday.