Mike Aviles sparks Puerto Rico

Updated: March 9, 2013, 10:57 PM ET
Associated Press

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Mike Aviles drove in three runs and Puerto Rico beat Venezuela 6-3 Saturday night to advance to the second round of the World Baseball Classic.

Puerto Rico (2-0) eliminated the Venezuelans (0-2), who began the tournament as a top contender with stars such as Miguel Cabrera, Pablo Sandoval and Carlos Gonzalez.

This result determined the two winners of Group C for the next phase in Miami. The Dominican Republic (2-0) also moved on with a win that eliminated Spain (0-2).

Venezuela arrived in San Juan with a loaded lineup that included Triple Crown winner Cabrera and World Series MVP Sandoval. But it scored only six runs in its first two games and did not make it past the first round for the first time in the three editions of the Classic.

The first round concludes on Sunday with a game between Venezuela and Spain, and the matchup between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic to decide the winner of the group.

The Venezuelans got five of their seven hits against starter and winner Nelson Figueroa, but did little against relievers Giovanni Soto, J.C. Romero and Fernando Cabrera.

Figueroa got the win and Soto threw three perfect innings. Romero allowed a run in the ninth before Cabrera finished for his first save.

Puerto Rico broke open the game with three runs in the eighth for a 3-2 lead.

Alex Rios was hit by a pitch from losing pitcher Henderson Alvarez, and singles by St. Louis teammates Carlos Beltran and Yadier Molina loaded the bases. Aviles hit a sacrifice and Luis Figueroa delivered a two-run double.

Omar Infante and Sandoval doubled as Venezuela took a 2-0 lead in the third.

The hosts tied it the fourth against starter Carlos Zambrano. Aviles hit a two-run single off Enrique Gonzalez.

Dominican Republic 6, Spain 3

Carlos Santana homered, Robinson Cano had three hits and the Dominican Republic beat Spain 6-3 in San Juan.

The Dominican team improved to 2-0 in Group C and advanced to the second round in Miami.

Santana and Nelson Cruz each drove in two runs for the Dominican Republic. Edwin Encarnacion scored twice.

After 15 scoreless innings, Spain scored its first run of the tournament in the seventh and then added two in the ninth before Fernando Rodney picked up a save.

"They never gave up," Cruz said. "There are no weak opponents in this Classic and we have to be on top of them all nine innings."

Samuel Deduno pitched four scoreless innings and struck out five for the win. Alfredo Simon, Pedro Strop, Jose Veras and Rodney closed it out for the Dominican Republic.

Spain (0-2) was beaten for the second time in a row after losing to Puerto Rico 3-0 on Friday night.

Yoanner Negrin, one of seven Cubans on Spain's team, took the loss. He allowed five runs, four walks and three hits in 2 1/3 innings.

Cuba 14, Taiwan 0

Yasmany Tomas hit a three-run homer in the fourth inning as Cuba routed Taiwan 14-0 in the second round in Tokyo.

Tomas' second home run of the tournament gave Cuba a commanding 6-0 lead at Tokyo Dome, and the 2006 runner-up added eight runs in the sixth before the game was ended under the mercy rule.

Cuba will play the loser of Sunday's game between Japan and the Netherlands on Monday for a chance to advance to the March 17-19 final round in San Francisco. Taiwan is eliminated from the tournament.

A bases-clearing double by Jose Fernandez and a two-run homer by Jose Abreu highlighted the sixth in which Cuba sent 11 batters to the plate.

Cuban starter Danny Betancourt pitched six scoreless innings.


Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press

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