World Baseball Classic begins Tuesday at Petco Park
SAN DIEGO — The Dominican Republic will face Puerto Rico as Pool F play in the World Baseball Classic begins Tuesday at Petco Park.
The four-team pool also includes the U.S. and Venezuela, who will play Wednesday. Venezuela advanced with a 4-3 victory over Italy Monday in Guadalajara, Mexico, scoring three runs in the top of the ninth to overcome a 2- 1 deficit.
Play at Petco Park will continue through at least Saturday. A tiebreak game, if necessary, would be played Sunday. The top two teams from the pool will advance to the semifinals at Dodger Stadium.
The Dominican Republic won the tournament when it was last held in 2013. It won all three of its games in Pool C play in Miami, increasing its winning streak in the WBC to 11 games.
Puerto Rico won all three of its games in Pool D play in Guadalajara.
Minnesota Twins right-hander Ervin Santana will start for the Dominican Republic. He originally declined to pitch in the WBC but was swayed over the weekend with the club looking to bolster its staff.
Puerto Rico manager Edwin Rodriguez has not announced his team’s starting pitcher.
Pitchers are limited to 80 pitches, but are allowed to exceed the limit to complete a batter.
Both teams have a former Padre. Puerto Rico catcher Rene Rivera played for the Padres from 2013-14 and is now with the New York Mets. Dominican Republic reliever Fernando Rodney was the Padres closer for the first half of the 2016 season before being traded in June to the Miami Marlins. He signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks as a free agent during the off-season.
Fans may bring noisemakers and flags to all games.
What organizers have billed as “The World Festival at the World Baseball Classic” will be held before Thursday’s game between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico and Friday’s between the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
The festival will feature food from seven nations in the tournament — poutine (Canada), fried rice bowl (China), Cubano sandwiches (Cuba), spicy Italian sausages, hummus plate (Israel), yakisoba noodle bowl (Japan) and street tacos (Mexico).
There will also be country-specific entertainment performances such as Lion Dancers (China), the Manny Cepeda Trio (Cuba), Roman Holiday (Italy), Taiko Drummers (Japan), Ballet Folklorico and Mariachi (Mexico) and a “Todo Mundo” performance representing Latin America.
Other entertainment activities include flag face painting, air hockey and soccer kick. The festival will be held from 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public.
A “Party in the Park” will be held for ticket holders to Thursday’s game at Park in the Park with live music and drink specials. Thursday will also be College Night, with specially priced tickets for college students with valid student ID at the rooftop of the Western Metal Supply Co. building.
A beer festival featuring beers from around the world will be held at Park in the Park for ticket holders 21-and-older for Friday’s game to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.