Anthony Santander wasted no time making an appearance at the World Baseball Classic on Saturday.
In his first appearance in Venezuela’s WBC opener, the Orioles right fielder hit a second-round solo home run to help lead Venezuela to a 5-1 victory over the Dominican Republic.
The explosion tied the score at 1 after the Dominican Republic took a first-round lead. Santander hooked up a 99 mph sinker from Sandy Alcántara, who was pitching at their stadium in Miami’s LoanDepot Park, and deposited it 393 feet in right field.
The long pass was not the only highlight of the game for Santander. In the eighth inning, he made a crucial diving catch that stopped a possible Dominican Republic rally. The Dominican Republic had runners on first and second with one out, but Santander’s grip robbed Jeimer Candelario of a likely RBI hit.
Santander then tripled in the bottom half of the eighth and scored on a single by Seattle Mariners third baseman Eugenio Suárez to put Venezuela up 5–1. Venezuela’s victory was the first over the Dominican Republic in the WBC. Santander, who hit a career-high 33 home runs for the Orioles last season, ended the night at 2-4 with the only home run of the game, an RBI and two runs scored.
Orioles minor league reliever Darwinzon Hernandez did not play for Venezuela in the victory. Hernandez, who Baltimore acquired from the Boston Red Sox in January, was not invited to spring training.
Former Orioles third baseman Manny Machado went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and a walk as the Dominican Republic’s third batter.
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Ryan Long spent the 2022 season with Low-A Delmarva, but on Saturday he held his ground against perhaps the best lineup he’s ever faced.
Long, who the Orioles selected in the 17th round of the 2021 draft, pitched 1 2/3 innings of relief for Great Britain in their 6–2 loss to the United States at Chase Field in Phoenix.
Long, 23, went in with one out in the fourth innings as Great Britain trailed 2–1. He got Nolan Arenado, third baseman for St.
Long then retired four of the next six batters he faced without allowing another run. He pitched a scoreless fifth that ended with him striking out Los Angeles Angels superstar Mike Trout on a 94 mph fastball. He also signed Houston Astros outfielder Kyle Tucker, Phillies catcher JT Realmuto and New York Mets second baseman Jeff McNeil in his WBC debut.
Long ended his outing allowing three hits and one earned run in 1 2/3 innings with one out and no walks. Last season with Delmarva, Long went 7-5 with a 3.10 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 72 2/3 innings.
Orioles center fielder Cedric Mullins did not appear in Team USA’s opening win as Tucker, Trout and Los Angeles Dodgers star Mookie Betts ran the outfield.
Former Orioles pitcher Vance Worley started the game for Great Britain, allowing three hits, three walks and two unearned runs in 2 2/3 innings.
Orioles right-handed pitcher Dean Kremer is expected to start for Israel in their opener against Nicaragua on Sunday.
Kremer, 27, has emerged as one of Baltimore’s best starting pitchers in 2022 with an 8-7 record and a 3.23 ERA in 125 1/3 innings. He plans to be in the Orioles’ starting rotation again this season.
Orioles minor league pitcher Daniel Federman, who split his 2022 season between Low-A Delmarva and High-A Aberdeen, is also on Team Israel.
The first pitch for Israel’s game against Nicaragua in Miami is at noon. Santander and Venezuela play Puerto Rico on Sunday at 7pm, Mullins and Team USA take on Mexico at 10pm
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