- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 10, 2009

From combined dispatches

PUERTO RICO 3, NETHERLANDS 1: Yadier Molina’s go-ahead double keyed a three-run rally in the eighth inning Monday, and Puerto Rico beat a pesky Netherlands team in San Juan to advance to the second round of the World Baseball Classic.

The Netherlands pulled off a major upset in its tournament opener Saturday, beating the Dominican Republic 3-2. The pitching staff, with coach Bert Blyleven in the dugout, also was impressive against favored Puerto Rico, protecting a 1-0 lead until the eighth.

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Big league sluggers Carlos Delgado and Alex Rios opened the inning with walks. After Ivan Rodriguez struck out, Mike Aviles walked to load the bases, and Molina followed with a two-run double to left off Leon Boyd that put Puerto Rico in front before 19,479 at Hiram Bithorn Stadium.

Alex Cora flied out, but Jesus Feliciano’s RBI single made it 3-1. On the play, Molina was thrown out at the plate.

J.C. Romero and Fernando Cabrera combined for a perfect ninth, sending Puerto Rico to Miami for second-round action beginning Saturday.

The Netherlands will face the Dominican Republic again in an elimination game Tuesday night. The winner of that game will play Puerto Rico on Wednesday for first place in Group D.

Pittsburgh right-hander Ian Snell started for Puerto Rico, allowing one run and three hits in four innings.

ITALY 6, CANADA 2: Chris Denorfia went 4-for-4 with three doubles, Alex Liddi drove in two runs and Italy eliminated Canada in Toronto.

Denorfia, a member of the Oakland Athletics, reached base five times and scored twice. He also knocked in two runs and made a diving catch on Joey Votto’s sinking liner to center field in the seventh.

Justin Morneau had four hits, but it wasn’t enough as Canada was stifled before a sparse crowd of 12,411.

It was a quick and disappointing tournament exit for the Canadians, who featured a lineup that included major league stars Jason Bay, Russell Martin and Morneau.

SOUTH KOREA 1, JAPAN 0: Kim Tae-kyun drove in the only run to help South Korea beat defending champion Japan in Tokyo and finish first in Pool A.

Both teams already had advanced to the second round, and Monday’s game was to determine the seedings. Japan will face the Pool B winner in the second round; South Korea takes on the Pool B runner-up March 15.

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