Manny Machado continued his assault on the Pool C Most Valuable Player Award Sunday, accounting for runs on both sides of the ball early for the Dominican Republic in its thrilling 10-3, 11-inning win over Colombia at Marlins Park.
Machado is one of the best two-way players in all of baseball, and he showed why against Colombia. He gave the Dominicans a 2-1 lead with an RBI double in the third, scored a run and saved several others with a series of difficult plays at third base, all in the first few innings.
"To me, it's not a surprise, the job that Manny Machado did, because he's one of the best baseball players," Dominican manager Tony Pena said after his team capped a 3-0 run through Pool C to advance to the second round in San Diego. "Nothing that Machado has done surprises me. That young man prepared very well, because last year he was saying, 'I'm going to go to play in the Classic, and he's here and he's doing everything.'"
The Orioles' third baseman seemed to make a highlight-reel play defensively every inning.
It started with the bases loaded and two outs in the first inning and the score tied 1-1 when Machado had to back up on a chopper off the bat of Mauricio Ramos. Machado gloved the ball, fell to his knees, spun, and somehow still had time to complete the play with a long, strong throw across the diamond. All in style, as usual.
Another time, Machado ranged into foul ground to make a backhanded pick behind the third-base bag and made a strong jump-throw to first. It would have been a highlight-reel play, but Dominican first baseman Carlos Santana dropped the throw.
Then in the fifth, Machado started a pretty double play, diving to his left to stab a hot shot off the bat of Giovanny Urshela. Machado spun and sprang to his feet in an instant before unleashing a strong throw to second.
If that wasn't enough, Machado drove in the go-ahead run with his double in the third before scoring an insurance run when Jose Bautista reached on an error a few batters later.