Astros' Martin Maldonado catches combined perfect game for Puerto Rico's WBC win vs. Israel

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Tuesday, March 14, 2023
Astros' catcher Martin Maldonado displays greatness once again
Machete cut up in the World Baseball Classic!

MIAMI, Florida (KTRK) -- Martin Maldonado's experience with no-hit games came in handy on Monday night when his Puerto Rico team made history in the World Baseball Classic.

The Houston Astros catcher called all 88 pitches thrown in his team's combined perfect game against Israel, contributing to Puerto Rico's 10-0 win in a preliminary-round game that ended in eight innings due to the WBC's run rule, or the more common "mercy rule."

The game also has the distinction of the first perfect game to be won on a walkoff when Enrique Hernandez drove in Maldonado for the winning 10th run.

The perfect game in baseball's version of the World Cup is a first in the tournament's 17-year history.

The 36-year-old Maldonado began the historic game with starting pitcher Jose De Leon, who is in the Minnesota Twins' farm system. De Leon flamed Israeli batters for 10 strikeouts in five and two-thirds innings, leaving the game due only to the WBC's 65-pitch limit in the opening round.

"Maldy" then guided three more pitchers - Yacksel Rios, Edwin Diaz, and Duane Underwood Jr. - to finish off Israel inside LoanDepot Park.

The World Series champion is one of two Astros catchers in franchise history to catch multiple no-hitters: one in 2019 and the other last June, the latter of which was started by Cristian Javier, who is in the WBC for the Dominican Republic.

The 2023 tournament is just Maldonado's second in his career. He was a runner-up with Puerto Rico in 2013.

Puerto Rico faces off with the Dominican Republic in each team's final preliminary-round game on Wednesday.