He needed only eight innings to do so.
Puerto Rico threw the first combined walk-off perfect game in World Baseball Classic history on Monday, defeating Israel 10-0 in their Pool D game at LonDepot Park in Miami. Puerto Rico used three pitchers in its debut, matching José de León’s WBC record, and the team ended the game by hitting a mercy rule with a Kike Hernández walk-off single in the eighth inning.
De Leon threw 10 strikeouts over nearly six innings to start the night. This matched Puerto Rico’s strikeout record and the record for strikeouts in a World Baseball Classic game. He exceeded his first-round pitch-count limit with one out in the fifth inning.
While this was going on, Puerto Rico had no problems at the plate. They took a 6–0 lead in the first two innings on doubles from Javier Báez, Eddie Rosario and Hernández, as well as triples from Emmanuel Rivera.
They then pushed it to a nine-run game in the fifth when Francisco Lindor hit a three-run triple deep into right field.
After pulling De León late in the fifth, Puerto Rico turned to Yaxel Rios, Edwin Diaz and Duane Underwood to pitch the 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 will play again on Wednesday against the Dominican Republic, who are 1-1 ahead of their game with Israel on Tuesday.
“For us, this is the most important game of the tournament,” said Puerto Rico manager Yadier Molina. Via MLB.com’s Juan Toribio, “So we’re going to be ready for that.”