TOKYO — José De León and three relievers combined to pitch a perfect game as Puerto Rico routed Israel 10-0 in a World Baseball Classic game called after eight innings Monday night because of the tournament’s 10-run mercy rule.
De León tied a WBC record with 10 strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.
The right-hander was lifted after he fanned Spencer Horwitz on his 64th pitch, one under the tournament limit for starting pitchers in the first round.
He exited to a huge ovation from the prohibitive Puerto Rico crowd of 27,813 in Miami.
Javier Báez doubled twice and Francisco Lindor tripled and singled for Puerto Rico, which finished with 11 hits and improved to 2-1.
Puerto Rico struck quickly against Israel starter Colton Gordon with a three-run first. Báez hit a two-run double and scored on Eddie Rosario’s double.
The extra-base hits continued for Puerto Rico in the second, resulting in another three runs.
Kiké Hernández made it 5-0 with a two-run double and raced home on Emmanuel Rivera’s triple.
Lindor’s two-run triple keyed a three-run fifth, and Hernández’s run-scoring single in the eighth ended the game.
Kunwoo Park and Ha-Seong Kim hit grand slams in consecutive innings, and South Korea set a World Baseball Classic scoring record with a 22-2 blowout of China in a game between teams that were already eliminated.
South Korea broke the runs record that had stood since Japan beat China 18-2 in the first round of the initial WBC in 2006.
In the earlier Group B game, Australia defeated the Czech Republic 8-3 and reached a quarterfinal against Cuba on Wednesday.
Japan plays Italy the following day in the second quarterfinal.