The Minnesota Twins play in first game in Dominican Republic since 2000

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BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 20: A Minnesota Twins cap and glove in the dug out before a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards at on August 20, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 20: A Minnesota Twins cap and glove in the dug out before a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards at on August 20, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /
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Minnesota Twins
A Minnesota Twins cap and glove (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Twins became one of the first teams to play in the Dominican Republic since 2000, playing in a nation several Twins players call home.

The Minnesota Twins had the rare opportunity to play in the Dominican Republic on Saturday, facing off against the Detroit Tigers at Estadio Quisqueya Juan Marichal (Quisqueya Juan Marichal Stadium) in the country’s capital on Saturday.

Major League Baseball scheduled the game as part of their effort to get the game out to a more global audience. In 2019, eight regular season games were played in Japan, Mexico, and the United Kingdom, where most games outside the U.S. have been scheduled.

There have also been two games played in Australia (in 2014) and six played in Puerto Rico (technically a U.S. territory, but an island 826 miles away), including two games played there by the Twins in 2018. The Twins as a team were excited for the chance to play in a nation that very few teams had been able to play in.

The Twins have eight players on the roster who were born in the Dominican Republic; Nelson Cruz, Miguel Sano, Jorge Polanco, Jorge Alcala, Wander Javier, Fernando Romero, Jhoan Duran, and Gilberto Celestino. Cruz was especially excited about the game:

Unfortunately, neither Polanco nor Romero were able to play in the game, as Polanco stayed in the U.S. and Romero is still battling with customs to get into the U.S. and has been unable to play with the Twins through spring training. Every other Twins player from the country was able to take part in the festivities, including the autograph signing, press conference, and game itself.

The Twins played an overall decent game against the Tigers, coming back from a 3-0 deficit mainly from a pumped up Sano, playing in front of his home crowd:

The Twins seemed a lot more energized from there, and came back from down two later in the game as well. Sano and Cruz combined for four hits and three RBI, sparking the team to victory. All six Dominican-born players that suited up received an at-bat or an inning, making it a good game for the hometown players.

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