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Orioles' Adam Jones looking forward to pivotal WBC matchup against Dominican

MIAMI — Orioles center fielder Adam Jones didn't have much time to revel in his game-winning heroics Friday night. His two-out, 10th-inning single that gave Team USA a 3-2 victory over Colombia at Marlins Park in its World Baseball Classic opener was memorable, but in his eyes, it's already old news.

"It was fun, not just for me, but for everybody," Jones said. "Family, friends, people watching at home. I got so many text messages that I couldn't even respond to everybody."

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Jones was focused on a new task, Saturday's sold-out contest against the defending-champion Dominican Republic – the highlight of the tournament's pool-play opening round.

After taking batting practice, Jones leaned against the bat rack in the Team USA dugout, taking in the noises above him as a pro-Dominican crowd began to assemble. Fans wrapped themselves in the Dominican flag as the sounds of drums and horns filled the seating bowl.

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"You see the pride, you can hear the bongos and all the noise that's going on right now," Jones said. "And it's going to be like this for nine innings. What we need to do is take that early lead and hopefully quiet them down."

Moments earlier, Jones emerged from the dugout and caught the sight of Orioles third baseman Manny Machado, who was taking grounders at shortstop during the Dominican Republic's batting practice session.

They smiled and gave each other a captain's salute, before Machado disappeared into the Dominican dugout and Jones began playing catch with Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen.

"That's my boy and obviously we grind 162 together, but right now for about two weeks, we're against each other in the part of friendly competition and that's what this game it about," Jones said. "First and foremost I'm glad he's representing his family and his grandparents, his mother and father, playing for their heritage. I know he's born here in Miami on American soil, but he has deep Dominican roots and I'm glad he's showing honor and homage to it."

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The winner of tonight's game will take control of Pool C with their second win of the tournament, ultimately forcing the loser to win its final pool game Sunday in order to advance to the second round. The Dominican faces Colombia, which beat Canada 4-1 earlier Saturday, while the USA faces 0-2 Canada on Sunday night in the final game at Marlins Park.

eencina@baltsun.com
twitter.com/EddieInTheYard

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