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Puerto Rico throws a combined perfect game versus Israel, the first in World Baseball Classic history

José de León of Puerto Rico matched the WBC record with his 10 strikeouts against Israel on Monday night. (Sam Navarro / USA TODAY)

He needed only eight innings to do so.

Puerto Rico threw the first combined perfect game in World Baseball Classic history, defeating Israel 10–0 in their Pool D game at Londepot Park. Puerto Rico used three pitchers after José de León matched a WBC record in his debut, and the team ended the game after hitting a mercy rule in the eighth inning on a Kike Hernández walk-off single.

De Leon threw 10 strikeouts over nearly six innings to start the night. This matched Puerto Rico’s strikeout record and matched the record for most strikeouts in a World Baseball Classic game. He hit his first-round pitch count limit with two outs left in the fifth inning.

While this was going on, Puerto Rico had no problems at the plate. They took a 6–0 lead after the first two innings included doubles from Javier Báez, Eddie Rosario and Hernández, as well as a triple from Emmanuel Rivera. Then they pushed it to a nine-run game in the fifth when Francisco Lindor hit a three-run triple deep in right field.

After de León was pulled late in the fifth inning, Puerto Rico turned to Yaxel Ríos, Edwin Diaz and Duane Underwood to pitch the shutout eight innings. This set up Hernandez’s final single of the night, which hit the run rule and ended the game with an inning inning.

Puerto Rico is now 2–1 in Pool D, just a half game behind Venezuela. They are set to play again on Wednesday against the Dominican Republic, who draw 1-1 ahead of their game with Israel on Tuesday night.

“For us, this is the most important game of the tournament,” said Puerto Rico manager Yadier Molina. Via’s Juan Toribio, “So we’re going to be ready for that.”



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