The message has been sent loud and clear.
The Dominican Republic don't plan on relinquishing their World Baseball Classic championship anytime soon. The Dominican Republic destroyed Canada, 9-2, to open Pool C play in Miami. The atmosphere was raucous with a rabid crowd there to support the Dominicans.
The game was really never in doubt as the Dominicans poured it on early and often, not giving Canada a chance to feel they were in it. Carlos Martinez got the start for the Dominican Republic and set the tone in the first when he retired the Canadians in order to start the game. Ryan Dempster, who hadn't pitched since 2013, held his own against the powerful Dominican lineup. Dempster did run into trouble in the second inning when he was tagged for four runs, including a two-run homerun to right field by Wellington Castillo.
Martinez went four innings, earning the win, shutting down the scrappy Canadian lineup. He did however, give up an unearned run after a balk in the third inning. That was the only blemish during his solid outing.
Canada pushed another run across in the fifth inning on a Dalton Pompey double to centerfield, off a pitch from Hansel Robles. That was all the Canadians could muster offensively, as the Dominican bullpen was masterful, not allowing a hit past the 6th inning. Dominican Manager Tony Pena was able to trot out relievers Alex Colome, Dellin Betances, Fernando Rodney and Jeurys Familia to shut the door on any Canadian hopes of an upset.
Adrian Beltre singled home Carlos Santana to make it 5-2 in the 5th but the game was blown completely apart in the sixth inning, when Jose Bautista blasted a three-run homerun deep to left field. Canada was never able to recover as the Dominicans continued to flex their baseball muscle. Jose Reyes added another run when he drove in Beltre, making it 9-2.
The Canadian bullpen was touched up for five runs, four of those runs were earned over six innings.
Reyes and Bautista were the offensive stars, both dishing out three hits. Bautista was crucial, driving in four of the nine Dominican runs.
The win was a great way to start off the campaign for the Dominican Republic as they won their ninth straight WBC game. Next up for the Dominican Republic is the marquee matchup against the United States on Saturday night. On the other side, the Canadians face a must-win situation when they face Colombia on Saturday. One thing is clear, the Dominican Republic has come into this World Baseball Classic with a purpose and won't let anyone deter them.