Anthony Santander continued his tear at the World Baseball Classic on Tuesday in Venezuela’s win over Nicaragua.
After homering in Venezuela’s first two games, the Orioles right fielder reached base in all four of his plate appearances in the 4-1 victory at LoanDepot Park in Miami. He ended the day 2-for-2 with an RBI double and two walks.
Venezuela is now 3-0 in Pool D, and Santander is a main reason why. The 28-year-old is slashing .455/.538/1.273 with two home runs, a triple, a double and five RBIs. He started the tournament as Venezuela’s No. 7 hitter, but his scorching hot bat earned him a promotion to the cleanup spot.
Santander homered in the first inning of Venezuela’s WBC opener Saturday against the Dominican Republic’s Sandy Alcántara, the Miami Marlins ace who won the National League Cy Young Award last season. He then hit a three-run blast Sunday against Puerto Rico’s José Berríos, a starter for the Toronto Blue Jays.
His RBI double Tuesday afternoon off Nicaragua’s Osman Gutierrez, a former Blue Jays and Marlins minor leaguer, was an insurance run in the fifth to give Venezuela a three-run advantage.
Cedric Mullins records first WBC hit
Cedric Mullins saw how much fun Santander was having and decided to join in Monday night.
The Orioles center fielder roped an RBI triple for his first hit at the WBC in the United States’ nine-run first inning in its 12-1 win over Canada. Mullins, 28, ended the night 1-for-3 out of the No. 9 hole.
The victory, which improved Team USA to 2-1 in Pool C, was Mullins’ first start. He pinch ran and flied out in Team USA’s loss to Mexico on Sunday.
Minor leaguer pitches scoreless inning vs. Puerto Rico
Baltimore Orioles Insider
On Saturday, Orioles minor league pitcher Ryan Long held his own for Great Britain, allowing one run in 1 2/3 innings against a stacked Team USA lineup. He allowed a home run to Philadelphia Phillies slugger Kyle Schwarber, but he struck out Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout.
On Monday, it was Daniel Federman’s turn. In Israel’s 10-0 loss to Puerto Rico, Federman was the only Israeli pitcher to throw a scoreless inning, retiring the side in order on just nine pitches. All three players he forced to ground out — Johneshwy Fargas, Nelson Velázquez and Vimael Machín — appeared in the majors last year.
Federman, a 24-year-old right-hander, split his 2022 season between Low-A Delmarva and High-A Aberdeen. He posted a 5.58 ERA and 80 strikeouts in 71 innings.
Puerto Rico pitched an eight-inning perfect game, which ended because of the mercy rule. Timonium native Spencer Horwitz, who hit an RBI single and scored the winning run in Israel’s victory over Nicaragua on Saturday, went 0-for-2 with two strikeouts. Horwitz is a minor leaguer in the Blue Jays’ system.
Federman could pitch against Santander on Wednesday, as Israel and Venezuela face off in their Pool D finales. Israel’s third WBC game is Tuesday night against the Dominican Republic.
After a day off Tuesday, Mullins and Team USA play Colombia at 10 p.m. Wednesday. A win would send Team USA to the quarterfinals.
Long and Great Britain play in their final WBC game Tuesday at 10 p.m. versus Mexico.