Wednesday, March 11, 2009

From combined dispatches

NETHERLANDS 2, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 1 (11): Stunned twice by a pesky Netherlands team, the Dominican Republic is done at the World Baseball Classic.

Eugene Kingsale singled in the tying run and scored the game-winner as the Netherlands rallied for a victory over the heavily favored Dominicans in 11 innings Tuesday night in San Juan, Puerto Rico, earning a surprise spot in the second round.

It was the second time in four days that a Netherlands squad made up of little-known players upset the Dominican Republic, considered one of the favorites coming into the tournament thanks to a roster filled with major league All-Stars.

VENEZUELA 10, ITALY 1: Bobby Abreu and Miguel Cabrera hit consecutive long balls to start a four-homer outburst in the fifth inning, powering Venezuela to a victory over Italy in Toronto and a spot in the second round of the World Baseball Classic.

Jose Lopez added a two-run shot, Ramon Hernandez followed with a mammoth drive and Venezuela eliminated Italy from the 16-team tournament with its second win over the Italians in four days.

“In the second round it’s going to be dangerous for the pitchers,” Venezuela manager Luis Sojo said.

Venezuela will play the United States on Wednesday night to decide the winner of Group C. The United States won their previous matchup 15-6 on Sunday night. Both teams begin second-round play Saturday in Miami.

“A very important game for us because we need to show the United States this team is here to win as well,” Sojo said.

Italy beat host Canada 6-2 on Monday night but couldn’t follow that up in front of a pro-Venezuelan crowd of 10,450.

Cabrera, who came in 0-for-9 in the WBC, went 3-for-4 with a walk and scored twice.

Cabrera wasn’t available to reporters after the game, but Abreu said an improved approach helped the Detroit slugger end his hitless skid.

“The first two games he was swinging the bat a little too aggressive,” Abreu said. “Today he was more patient at the plate, he drove the ball up the middle and the other way. He got pretty good contact. That’s what we need.”

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