Puerto Rico last left the field winners of a historic perfect game over Israel, and on Wednesday night former Boston Red Sox catcher Christian Vázquez kept the momentum going.
Facing the Dominican Republic, who entered the 2023 World Baseball Classic as the favorite to win it all, Vázquez kicked off a four-run rally in the third inning by blasting a solo home run off Miami Marlins pitcher Johnny Cueto. Vázquez, along with many Team Puerto Rico supporters in attendance, roared collectively with a WBC quarterfinal appearance on the line.
Watch Vázquez’s rally spark off Cueto here:
Two batters later and Cuteo was pulled from the game, but Puerto Rico continued applying pressure.
When Puerto Rico took a 2-0 lead, current Red Sox infielder Kiké Hernández, who played hero Monday night, delivered an RBI single to plate the third of four runs to cross. Hernández, along with Puerto Rico’s skipper Yadier Molina, both partook in the squad’s last WBC hunt, which ended in the championship round against the United States.
Puerto Rico held a 4-1 lead over the Dominican Republic at the end of three innings. Both teams entered with 2-1 records before the contest began, setting up for winner take all Pool D matchup.