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U.S. routs Venezuela, advances

Kevin Youkilis hit a two-run homer, Adam Dunn and Ryan Braun added solo shots and the United States powered its way into the second round of the World Baseball Classic by beating Venezuela 15-6 on Sunday night in Toronto.

Chris Iannetta and Mark DeRosa each had four RBIs for Team USA, which broke it open with an eight-run sixth inning and finished with 16 hits. Youkilis scored four times.

Every U.S. starter had at least one hit except for third baseman Chipper Jones, lifted in the sixth because of a mild strain on his side. Jones, who is 0 for 7 with five strikeouts in the WBC, will be evaluated again today.

Florida Marlins reliever Matt Lindstrom worked 1 1/3 perfect innings for the win.

Venezuela will play an elimination game Tuesday against the winner of today’s game between Canada and Italy. The winner Tuesday advances to round two, and will face the U.S. on Wednesday night to decide first place in Group C.

Team USA will begin second-round play Saturday in Miami.

Dominican Republic 9, Panama 0: Miguel Olivo homered twice and drove in five runs, and the Dominican Republic rebounded from a startling loss at the World Baseball Classic by beating Panama in an elimination game at San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Cuba 8, South Africa 1: Frederich Cepeda hit two of Cuba’s tournament-record six homers in a victory over South Africa.

The previous home run record for the WBC was four, achieved by the Dominican Republic against Venezuela in the inaugural tournament in 2006.

South Korea 14, China 0: Olympic champion South Korea advanced to the second round with a rout of China at Tokyo.

Australia 17, Mexico 7 (8): Chris Snelling homered twice and Ben Risinger hit a three-run shot as Australia powered past Mexico at Mexico City.

Andrew Graham’s RBI single in the sixth inning broke a 7-all tie.

Branyan blasts M’s to win

Russell Branyan’s first home run of the spring wasn’t even his most impressive hit.

That came on the Seattle first baseman’s double off the 30-foot high wall that stands atop a 12-foot high wall in center field, which drove in two runs during the Mariners’ 11-7 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks at Peoria, Ariz.

The ball easily soared over the smaller wall in center and just missed clearing the attached wall, hitting 3 feet from the top before caroming back into the field.

The deep shot drove in Franklin Gutierrez and Ken Griffey Jr., who singled and scored twice for the Mariners. Wladimir Balentien added a three-run shot for Seattle.

Branyan, who began last season in the minors before being called up and splitting time at third base for Milwaukee, signed a $1.4 million, one-year contract in the offseason to be Seattle’s first baseman.

The 32-year-old, who has 133 home runs in 11 major league seasons, should add some much-needed pop to the Mariners’ lineup – just like he did with his homer and deep double.


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