MIAMI — Horns honked, percussion pulsed and school kids squealed. Miami can make quite a din when the Dominicans win.
The visiting team on the scoreboard, the Dominican Republic made itself at home by beating the United States 3-1 on Thursday night to earn a berth in the final round of the World Baseball Classic.
Pinch hitter Erick Aybar singled home the go-ahead run off Braves closer Craig Kimrebl in the ninth for the Dominicans, who improved to 5-0. They’re assured of a spot in the semifinals beginning Sunday in San Francisco, where two-time defending champion Japan and the Netherlands have already advanced.
The United States must now play Puerto Rico again tonight, with the winner earning a trip to San Francisco and the loser being eliminated.
• David Wright was scratched from the original lineup because of sore ribs.
He led all players in the event with 10 RBI after four games and was hitting .438 (7 for 16).
Wright was replaced at third base by Willie Bloomquist.
PHILLIES: Charlie Manuel figures he has plenty of time to see his grandchildren, play golf and travel the world during the off-season.
Manuel, who is in the final season of his contract with Philadelphia, made it clear he wants to continue as manager beyond this year. Retirement plans haven’t even entered his mind.
“I still want to manage,” Manuel told The Associated Press on Thursday. “I’m not ready for somebody to tell me to go home. I’m not ready to quit managing. I’m not ready to get out of the game.”
Manuel is the franchise’s all-time leader in wins (727).