Robinson Cano powers Dominicans
Robinson Cano homered and the undefeated Dominican Republic beat Puerto Rico 4-2 on Sunday night in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to win their first-round group in the World Baseball Classic.
The New York Yankees slugger had three hits to help the Dominicans finish 3-0 in Group C. Next, they move on to the second round in Miami, where they will play Group D runner-up Italy on Tuesday.
"We want to get off on the right foot and win the first game," third baseman Hanley Ramirez said.
Puerto Rico took a 2-1 lead on Mike Aviles' two-run homer in the fourth inning, but Cano tied it with a solo shot in the fifth.
Puerto Rico finished second in the group with a 2-1 record and advanced to face the United States, which won Group D, on Tuesday night in Miami.
Japan 16, Netherlands 4
Two-time defending champion Japan hit a record-tying six home runs, scoring in all seven innings to rout the Netherlands 16-4 and reach the WBC semifinals in Tokyo.
Japan built a 12-0 lead by the sixth inning, when the Netherlands closed on Wladimir Balentine's three-run double and Andruw Jones' RBI single.
Hayato Sakamoto's grand slam in the seventh made it 16-4 and tied the team record of six homers, set by Cuba against South Africa in 2009. The game was called under the 10-run mercy rule when the Netherlands failed to close the gap in the bottom half.
"We've achieved our first goal of advancing to the final round," Japan manager Koji Yamamoto said. "The hitters swung the bats today, and getting some early runs was a huge boost for us."
Japan outhit the Dutch 17-6. The Netherlands plays Cuba on Tuesday, with the winners joining Japan in the semifinals at San Francisco on March 17 or 18.
Venezuela 11, Spain 6
Venezuela, which finished 1-2 in Group C, was eliminated from the competition Saturday night with a 6-3 loss to Puerto Rico. So the win over Spain (0-3) was of little consolation to the South American team that was loaded with major league All-Stars and had been considered a top contender.
Venezuela had more hits Sunday (16) than in its first two games combined. Cabrera went 3 for 5 with three RBIs and scored three runs. Omar Infante also had three hits and Elvis Andrus knocked in two runs.
Cabrera and Sandoval connected in the eighth inning.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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