SAN FRANCISCO -- Moises Alou, who understands the deep roots of Dominican baseball in this city, knows just what's at stake now that his country has advanced to the finals of the World Baseball Classic.
"I wanted to get here so badly for what it meant to me, to my family and to the country," Alou, the general manager of the Dominican Republic, said after his team ousted the Netherlands 4-1 before a crowd of 27,527 in a semifinal game at AT&T Park.
"To play in San Francisco and to win it here would be even more special."
As the lone undefeated team in the tournament, the Dominican Republic (7-0) will take on Puerto Rico (5-3) at 5 p.m. on Tuesday for the WBC championship.
Alou played in San Francisco in 2005-06. His father, Felipe, was the first Dominican to play regularly in the major leagues (for the Giants) and managed here from 2003-06.
Father and son were on hand at AT&T Park to watch the latest generation of Dominican stars rally past pesky Netherlands. Established big-leaguers Jose Reyes and Edward Encarnacion each had a run-scoring single during a four-run fifth inning. Third baseman Miguel Tejada, who has played for the A's and the Giants, went 2 for 4 with a run scored.
Outfielder Moises Sierra, a late lineup addition, had an RBI double and made a terrific catch by diving into the left-field stands in pursuit of Andruw Jones' foul ball.
With the victory, the Dominicans bounced back four years
Next up: Puerto Rico.
"It's funny, because I saw some of the Puerto Rican players at lunch today," Moises Alou said. "None of them wished me luck."
The Netherlands, managed by Giants hitting coach Hensley Meulens, scored in the first inning on Wladimir Balentien's RBI groundout. But Edinson Volquez made it through five solid innings, and the Dominican bullpen extended its scoreless streak to 182/3 innings.
"I'm proud of our guys. They went out with their heads up," Meulens said. "I just had a meeting with them. I thanked them for playing with a lot of heart. We just got beat by a little better team today."
He will face Dominican right-hander Samuel Deduno, who was 6-5 with a 4.44 ERA in 15 games for the Minnesota Twins last season.
"That's what I know how to do best," Meulens said. "But in the future, I'll take calls if they want to say, 'Hey, this guy can manage.' "
Pagan is hitting .367 (11 for 30) with two doubles, a triple and two RBIs.
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