World Baseball Classic: USA Advances to Semifinals; Dominican Republic Eliminated

In a win-or-go-home matchup, Team USA eliminated the defending World Baseball Classic champion Team Dominican Republic with a 4-3 victory, Saturday in the final game of pool play.

Team USA right fielder Giancarlo Stanton‘s laser shot, two-run home run propelled a 6-3 win over Team Dominican Republic, Saturday night. The win earned USA the final spot in the World Baseball Classic semifinals.

The Dominican Republic started out the scoring in the first inning. An error by USA shortstop Brandon Crawford allowed Manny Machado to reach base. Robinson Cano drove in Machado with a double. Carlos Santana then singled in Cano to give the Dominican Republic an early first inning 2-0 lead.

In the second inning, the Dominicans started out the inning with a single and a double. USA pitcher Danny Duffy averted disaster when he got out of the inning without a run allowed.

In his second start of the World Baseball Classic, Duffy pitched four innings and allowed the two runs (one earned) on six hits, a walk and a strikeout.

In the top of the third inning, after Ian Kinsler drove in Stanton on a fielder’s choice, Christian Yelich delivered a RBI double that tied the game at two. Stanton homered in the following inning and the USA took a 4-2 lead.

Dominican Republic starter Ervin Santana pitched 3.2 innings, allowed four runs on six hits. He struck out two batters.

After Machado led off the bottom of the fifth inning with a single, Nelson Cruz doubled and set the Dominicans up with runners on second and third with one out. USA relief pitcher Pat Neshek worked out of the jam.

USA center fielder Adam Jones robbed Machado of a leadoff home run in the seventh inning. Cano followed the robbery with an opposite-field home run. He trimmed USA’s lead to one.

Yelich walked to leadoff the top of the eighth inning. Two batters later, Eric Hosmer reached base by a hit by pitch. Andrew McCutchen then stepped up and delivered a two-RBI double to extended USA’s lead by three.

USA closer Luke Gregerson shut the door on the Dominican Republic in the ninth inning. He earned his second save of the tournament. USA advances to the semifinals for the second time (2009).

What to look forward to next?

The Semifinals:

Team Puerto Rico and Team Netherlands start off the semifinals at 6 p.m. PST, Monday. Then, Team USA and Team Japan finish off the semifinals with their matchup at 6 p.m. PST, Tuesday.

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