Toronto Blue Jays teammates Jose Bautista and Dalton Pompey faced off against one another in the Pool “C” opener at the World Baseball Classic and both were impressive on the international stage.
The Dominican Republic compliment trounced Team Canada 9-2 as Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista delivered the decisive blow with a massive three-run homer in the 6th inning.
Bautista batted cleanup for the defending champions pacing his countrymen with three hits including a walk and 4 runs batted in to go with the round tripper. Former Blue Jays shortstop Jose Reyes also chipped in with three hits of his own for the Republic.
The slugger started the game in left field before moving over to his familiar right field once Nelson Cruz was subbed for a defensive replacement late in the game. During the telecast, it was mentioned that Bautista had approached Manager Tony Pena about playing first base should the need arise during the tourney. Former catcher Carlos Santana got the nod at first base for Pena against Canada.
Canadian Dalton Pompey showed well in his bid to make the Blue Jays opening day roster. Pompey contributed with an rbi double, swiped third base and made a diving catch in centerfield in a losing effort. The Mississauga native had the only extra base hit for the Canucks.
Pompey was also pivotal in an outfield relay to shortstop Jonathan Malo that nabbed Bautista at home plate in a bang, bang play.
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Former Blue Jays pitcher and Canadian Andrew Albers was effective in his two innings only allowing one hit and fanning two while keeping the Dominican’s at bay. Albers signed as a free agent this offseason with the Atlanta Braves.
The Canadians will now face Team Columbia on Saturday in a do or die contest if they want to keep their hopes of advancing alive. The Dominican Republic draw Team USA in their Saturday contest in a battle of the heavyweights.
Regardless how the Canadian’s do in their final two games, Pompey has made great strides to prove he belongs with the big club this spring and his performance in the first game just reinforced that.