MIAMI.-Outfielder David Peralta had two hits and drove in three runs, and Anthony Santander drove out of the park and hit a triple. At the same time, Luis Garcia dominated on the mound as Venezuela defeated the Dominican Republic 5-1 on Saturday in his first game of the World Baseball Classic.
This became the first victory for the Venezuelans against the Dominicans in five World Cup matches since its creation in 2006.
In a game in which President Luis Abinader threw out the first ball, becoming the first man to have that honor in a World Baseball Classic game, accompanied by his wife, Raquel Arbaje, and the Cooperstown immortals Pedro Martínez and David Ortiz, the Dominican bats looked dull.
In the first inning, Juan Soto hit a double that drove in Julio Rodríguez, who led off the episode with a single to left field off Martín Pérez.
But in the second inning, Anthony Santander tied the game against Sandy Alcántara with a solo shot to right field.
In the fourth, with Alcántara still on the mound, David Peralta hit a two-run single to right field, and Héctor Neris replaced the starter on the rise to end the Venezuelan attack.
Last year’s National League Cy Young winner, Alcantara (0-1), finished with a 3 2-3 innings performance, giving up five hits and three earned runs, walking three and striking out two.
The Venezuelan bats attacked again in the sixth when Peralta hit the Dominican pitching again, this time Luis Ortiz, hitting a double that drove Eugenio Suárez to make the game 4-1.
But pitcher Luis Garcia (1-0) completely tied up the Dominican bats, striking out seven in three scoreless innings and walking just two.
Garcia’s seven strikeouts set a World Baseball Classic record at LoanDepot Park.
In the eighth, Santander added a triple and was pushed by Suárez, extending a lead that never diminished again. LoanDepot Park had a sold-out 35,890 fans.
The Dominican Republic does not play on Sunday, while Venezuela faces Puerto Rico at 7 p.m. For Venezuela, Peralta went 2 for 2 with a double, a single, and three RBIs. Santander, 4-2, with a homer, triple, and two runs scored.