Donovan and Jhonatan Solano each made their Major League debuts at Marlins Park in 2012.
They faced each other in late May of that year when Jhonatan, then a member of the Nationals, made his debut roughly a week after Donovan did for the Marlins.
On Saturday afternoon, the brothers were back and united in making history for their native Colombia.
The Solano’s each had two hits and drove in a combined three runs to back up a quality start by Braves ace Julio Teheran and give Colombia its first-ever World Baseball Classic victory – a 4-1 win over Canada in front of 17,209 at Marlins Park.
“We’ve dreamed about something like this to represent our country,” Donovan Solano said. “I’m really happy and thankful for everything that’s happening right now. I’m so excited to be here again and I really enjoyed what happened today.”
Donovan, now in the New York Yankees organization, drove in the tying run in the third inning and gave Colombia the lead for good in the fifth on a single that scored center fielder Tito Polo.
Jhonatan Solano, now playing in the minors with the Nationals, scored the tying run in the third and drew a bases loaded walk in the sixth off Canada reliever Eric Gagne to tack on an insurance run.
The 11-hit effort for Colombia backed up a stellar pitching performance so far in the tournament by its All-Star duo of Teheran and Jose Quintana.
One night after failing to capitalize on a gem by Quintana, Teheran gave up a run in the first on a single by his Atlanta teammate Freddie Freeman that scored Justin Morneau.
But that was all Teheran yielded as he retired the next 13 batters he faced and Canada did not have another hit until the seventh inning. Canada mounted a threat in the bottom of the ninth against Colombia reliever Dayan Diaz when Freeman beat out an infield single and Tyler O’Neill followed with another with two outs. Diaz ended the game by striking out right fielder Jamie Romak.
Teheran threw 61 pitches, allowed the one run on two hits, walked one and struck out three in five innings.
“Julio had difficulty starting the game in the first inning,” Colombia manager Luis Urueta said. “He did not feel comfortable. He didn't have his command. And then when you make the adjustments and especially in this atmosphere, this scenario, you have to be strong mentally and a professional, and he did it.”
The performance came less than 24 hours after Quintana pitched 5 2/3 no-hit innings against the United States, but was forced to exit after that stretch ended on a Brandon Crawford single. Teheran had thrown 63 pitches and was about to go over the 65-pitch limit of the WBC’s opening round.
The U.S. went on to tie the game in that inning and eventually win the game in the 10th inning.
Colombia made its own gradual comeback on Saturday to back up Teheran’s outing.
Gagne, 41, along with former Marlins starting pitcher Ryan Dempster, have each come out of retirement to pitch for Team Canada. Gagne last threw in the majors in 2008 and is remembered mainly for his three-year All-Star run from 2002-2004 with the Dodgers when he converted 152 saves over that span and won the National League Cy Young Award in 2003.
Gagne, whose fastball topped out at 93 mph, helped Canada escape the bases loaded jam in the sixth after the walk to Solano by inducing a fly ball from Polo. Gagne threw 33 pitches and went 2 1/3 innings, allowing one hit and one walk, and striking out two.
Colombia (1-1) kept itself in contention in the Pool C standings with the victory and will finish its opening round slate against the Dominican Republic on Sunday at 12:30 p.m.
Canada dropped to 0-2 and found itself on the brink of elimination depending on the result of Saturday night’s USA-Dominican game.
A United States win would clinch the top spot in the pool and make the Colombia-Dominican Republic game Sunday a playoff for the runner-up spot therefore eliminating Canada. A Dominican Republic win over the U.S. would leave all four teams still alive going into Sunday’s games and keep scenarios for a possible tiebreaker game Monday in play.
Team Canada has never made it past the first round of the WBC and fell to 3-7 all-time in the event.