Bautista HR, bat flip eliminates Israel, lifts Dominicans
YOKOHAMA, Japan (AP) — Jose Bautista had a game-ending single for his first Olympic hit and bat flip, which followed Johan Mieses’ tying home run off Zack Weiss leading off the ninth inning, and the Dominican Republic eliminated Israel with a 7-6 win Tuesday night.
The Dominicans (2-2), who opened the game with a strange bunt double by Emilio Bonifacio, will play the United States (2-1) on Wednesday, and the winner of that game will play for a gold medal game berth against the loser of the Japan-South Korea semifinal.
Israel (1-4), which had knocked out Mexico, took a 6-5 lead when Danny Valencia hit two-run homer off Jumbo Diaz in the eighth inning.
Weiss (1-1), who made his only big league appearance for Cincinnati in 2018, had already pitched 2 2/3 innings when Mieses sent a drive that nearly cleared the left-field seats, ending an 0 for 7 tournament. It was the fourth home run allowed by the 29-year-old right-hander.
Melky Cabrera singled, and Bautista came up with two outs and pinch-runner Yefri Pérez on third. The 40-year-old Bautista had been benched for the game, and the six-time All-Star entered only when Bonifacio was shaken up.
He singled sharply to left off D.J. Sharabi for his first hit in 10 at-bats, took two steps and flipped his bat as he headed up the first-base line.
Luis Castillo (1-1), a 25-year-old Arizona Triple-A right-hander, pitched a scoreless inning for the win.
Jeison Guzman’s seventh-inning home run off Weiss had put the Dominicans ahead 6-5.
Bonifacio led off with a bunt that popped over third baseman Ty Kelly into short left field, and Bonifacio slid headfirst into third when shortstop Scotty Burcham heaved the ball into right field for an error. The Dominicans led 2-0 after three innings.
Christopher Mercedes, who pitches for the Central League’s Yomiuri Giants, held Israel hitless for 4 1/3 innings but was hit hard in the fifth and was hurt when Guzman misplayed a grounder to shortstop for an error.
Mitch Glasser tied the score with a two-run double, and Burcham and Ian Kinsler had RBI singles. Israel could have scored more, but Bautista threw out Nick Rickles at the plate from left field.
Julio Rodriguez hit an RBI single in the sixth off Jake Fishman and Mieses tied the score with a run-scoring grounder on a slow roller to third against Weiss.