Fittingly, three players from the only major league team outside the United States helped power the Dominican Republic to victory Monday night.
After all, it is the World Baseball Classic.
The Toronto Blue Jays' Moises Sierra, Jose Reyes and Edwin Encarnacion all had run-scoring hits during a four-run fifth inning that powered the Dominicans over the Netherlands 4-1 in a WBC semifinal at AT&T Park.
The Dominicans will play Puerto Rico in the championship game Tuesday night in San Francisco. Puerto Rico beat Japan 3-1 Monday in the first semifinal.
What stuck out the most to Dominican Republic manager Tony Pena wasn't that everyone an posting RBI was a Blue Jay. Instead, the New York Yankees bench coach liked how so many different players contributed, including four pitchers who combined on a four-hitter.
The Dominicans are 7-0 in the tournament, setting a record for most consecutive wins in the WBC's three-edition history.
"We have a lot of unity in this team," Pena said. "That is what brought us where we are now. It's not our ideal team. We don't have as many stars as we've had in other years. But this is a great group of players, a great group of guys, and I'm really proud of them. They came here today, went out and gave everything for their country, every one of them."
The Blue Jays trio helped the Dominican Republic turn the tables on Netherlands starter Diegomar Markwell, who allowed just two hits in four shutout innings before falling apart. The left-hander, ironically, was in Toronto's farm system for seven years before spending the past eight seasons in Honkbal Hoofdklasse, the Dutch professional league.
Cleveland Indians catcher Carlos Santana and Sierra, an outfielder, hit consecutive one-out doubles to produce the first run and tie the score at 1-1. Star shortstop Reyes then singled home Sierra with a bloop to center with two outs, putting the Dominicans ahead.
After a single by Kansas City Royals infielder Miguel Tejada moved Reyes to third, Markwell was pulled. Tom Stuifbergen entered and threw a wild pitch that allowed Reyes to score.
Encarnaction, a slugging first baseman, capped the inning with an RBI single.
Reyes and Tejada each had two of the Dominicans' nine hits.
New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano gave the Dominicans a quick dugout pep talk before the fifth inning.
"He just told the guys that we were swinging at too many pitches outside the strike zone," Pena said. "We made (Markwell) throw more strikes, and we put together some hits."
San Diego Padres right-hander Edinson Volquez overcame a rocky start to get the win, allowing one run and two hits in five innings. He walked two and struck out five.
The two walks, issued to Atlanta Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons and Texas Rangers infielder Jurickson Profar, came to start the game. Simmons scored on a groundout by Wladimir Balentien, but the inning ended when Sierra made an outstanding defensive play. The Dominican left fielder chased down Andruw Jones' fly ball in foul territory while battling a fan who was also trying to make the catch, and Sierra tumbled into the stands.
Volquez retired 11 straight batters after the back-to-back walks.
"This is probably the highlight of my baseball career so far," Volquez said. "When you're representing your country and you're making your country proud, that's amazing. That's awesome. It's not something that you can do every day."
The Royals' Kelvin Herrera, the Rangers' Pedro Strop and the Tampa Bay Rays' Fernando Rodney combined on four scoreless relief innings. Rodney has six saves in the tournament.
"The Dominicans based their team on their bullpen," Netherlands manager Hensley Meulens said. "It's a great bullpen. Those guys calmed down our bats.
"But I'm proud of our guys. They went down with their heads up. I thanked them for playing with a lot of heart, and we just got beat a little better team."
NOTES: Meulens threw out a ceremonial first pitch along with Felipe Alou, and the Netherlands manager was a fitting choice. Meulens is from the Dutch territory of Curacao, his mother is a native of the Dominican Republic, and he is the San Francisco Giants' hitting coach. Alou, a 77-year-old Dominican legend, was an All-Star player for the Giants and later managed the team. ... Puerto Rico will start right-hander Giancarlo Alvarado in the championship game. Alvardo has played professionally for 17 seasons without appearing in the major leagues. He is preparing for his fourth season in Japan. ... Weather could be a factor in the championship game, as the National Weather Service is forecasting a 60 percent chance of rain Tuesday night.