Puerto Rico throws combined 8-inning perfect game in World Baseball Classic against Israel
Puerto Rico did not allow a single baserunner in an eight-inning 10-0 mercy-rule victory over Israel on Monday.
Due to the game being called after eight innings, Puerto Rico will not be credited with a perfect game in the World Baseball Classic,
Four pitchers for Puerto Rico combined to retire 24 straight hitters from Israel, ending the game on a walk-off single from Enrique Hernández in the bottom of the eighth inning.
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“Very happy for the guys, especially after what happened Sunday,” Puerto Rico manager Yadier Molina said in Spanish. “To come out aggressively and win the game the way we did makes me very proud.”
The WBC allows for the mercy rule to apply if a team is up by 10 runs after the seventh inning or by 15 runs after the fifth inning.
Starting pitcher Jose De Leon threw 5.2 innings before the three pitchers combined for 2.1 innings the rest of the way.
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De Leon, who plays in the Minnesota Twins minor league systemsaid he began to realize what was going on after the third inning.
“They didn’t say a word,” De Leon said, according to ESPN. “That’s when I knew something was happening.”
De Leon has struggled with injuries throughout his career, needing Tommy John surgery in 2018.
“It is a great moment for all of us but especially for him,” Molina said, “with his family being here and what he has gone through in his career. I’m very happy with his outing. I know José very well and Have worked with him. He deserves all of this.”
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De Leon struck out 10 hitters, tying a WBC record.
“I dream about a moment like this,” De León said. “After all the setbacks I faced, I deserved this type of moment. I wanted to let the public know I am here to stay and also show the world that José De León can still compete.”
Puerto Rico will play the Dominican Republic on Thursday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.