USA, Dominicans wins World Baseball Classic pools
LOS ANGELES (AFP) –
The United States and the Dominican Republic both posted come-from-behind victories to win their respective pools and advance to the second round of the World Baseball Classic.
Adam Jones belted the go-ahead two-run double in the eighth and pitcher Heath Bell earned the win Sunday as the USA rallied to beat Canada 9-4 in a winner-take-all contest.
Robinson Cano had three hits and blasted a fifth-inning home run to help lift the Dominicans to a 4-2 win over host Puerto Rico in a battle for first place in Pool C.
“It was like a game seven and we don’t need to get pumped up for a game seven,” American outfielder Jones said. “We were just fortunate to get bigger hits.”
The USA finished first in Pool D and will play Pool C runner up Puerto Rico in one of two second round games on Tuesday in Miami. Pool C top seed Dominicans will face reigning European champions Italy in the other.
The USA fell into a 2-0 hole early and trailed 3-2 after seven innings, but Jones’ double off Canada pitcher Jimmy Henderson put the Americans ahead to stay in front of a crowd of 19,413 at Chase Field in Phoenix.
Jones finished with three RBI for the USA who eventually broke the game open with another four runs in the ninth.
US catcher Jonathan Lucroy had an RBI single in the final inning before Eric Hosmer cleared the bases with a double.
Bell, who plays in the major leagues for the Arizona Diamondbacks, posted the win with a scoreless seventh inning and then pitcher Steve Cisek got out of a bases loaded eighth-inning jam by getting Canadian Tim Smith to ground out to end the inning.
Prior to Sunday’s game, officials announced that there would be no further discipline against the Canadian or Mexican players who were involved in a ninth-inning bench-clearing brawl the day before.
Mexico, which appeared to start the fight, had four players ejected. Three Canadians were tossed during Team Canada’s 10-3 romp which resulted in Mexico being eliminated from the tournament.
Miguel Cabrera smacked four RBIs as Venezuela scored six runs in the fourth inning to beat Spain 11-6 in a Pool C contest earlier Sunday at San Juan, Puerto Rico.
National pride was the only thing on the line Sunday as Venezuela lost any chance of advancing to the second round by losing its first two games to the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.
Winless Spain will have to go through the qualifying rounds to try to return to this tournament the next time around in 2017.
Spain scored two runs in the fifth on a single by Salomon Manriquez to make it 6-5.
But Venezuela tacked on five more runs — two in the sixth and then three in the eighth as Cabrera and Pablo Sandoval blasted back-to-back homers in front of a crowd of 13,290 at Bithorn Stadium.
As opposed to the round-robin format in the first round, the next round will be double-elimination, meaning the teams to win two games each advance and the teams which lose twice are out.
The WBC semi-finals are March 17 and 18 at San Francisco’s AT&T Park. The final game is also in San Francisco on March 19.