Originally created 03/08/06

Home runs lift Dominicans



KISSIMMEE, Fla. - A lively sellout crowd, two All-Star lineups and a couple of Cy Young Award winners.

This is exactly what commissioner Bud Selig had in mind when he pushed for the World Baseball Classic, and the Dominican Republic and Venezuela made the concept look like a stroke of genius Tuesday.

David Ortiz and Adrian Beltre each homered twice, leading the powerful Dominican Republic to an 11-5 victory in the opening game of Pool D, a tough grouping that also includes Australia and Italy.

Bartolo Colon, the 2005 American League Cy Young winner for the Los Angeles Angels, pitched three scoreless innings for the win. He allowed three hits, walked one and struck out two before leaving after 50 pitches, well below the opening-round limit of 65.

Johan Santana, the 2004 AL Cy Young recipient, yielded Ortiz's first homer plus a second run that was unearned and took the loss. He threw 61 pitches in 3Q innings and allowed three hits, walked three and struck out five.

Ortiz and Beltre each hit two-run homers in the ninth as the Dominicans broke open a 6-5 game.

Ronnie Belliard added an RBI single to finish a five-run inning that set off a wild celebration among flag-toting, horn-blowing Dominican fans, some of whom even danced on top of the dugout after Beltre's second homer.

PUERTO RICO 2, PANAMA 1

In San Juan, Puerto Rico, Bernie Williams hit a tiebreaking single, and Alex Rios homered as Puerto Rico opened the World Baseball Classic with a win.

Javier Vazquez got help from his bullpen, and Williams' single up the middle scored Alex Cintron in the fifth inning to put Puerto Rico ahead before a home crowd of more than 19,000 fans at Hiram Bithorn Stadium.

Rios was down 0-2 in the count in the fifth before his home run tied the score at 1 and chased Panama starter Lenin Picota after 60 pitches.

Cintron followed with an infield hit. A sacrifice bunt by Alex Cora sent Cintron to second, and Williams gave his team the lead.