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D.R. qualifies for semis

Associated Press The Spokesman-Review

Daniel Cabrera threw four hitless innings and the Dominican Republic one-hit Venezuela to advance to the semifinals of the World Baseball Classic with a 2-1 victory on Tuesday night at San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Cabrera struck out seven with one walk as the elimination game in Group 2 turned into a classic pitchers’ duel, with the go-ahead run scoring on a passed ball by Venezuela catcher Ramon Hernandez in the sixth.

Francisco Liriano, Miguel Batista and Salomon Torres followed Cabrera, and Duaner Sanchez pitched 2 1/3 hitless innings to earn a save.

Venezuela loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the ninth on two walks and an error by Miguel Tejada, but Edgardo Alfonzo flied out for the final out.

Singles by Alberto Castillo and Placido Polanco, and a walk by Tejada loaded the bases in the sixth for the Dominican Republic. With two outs, Albert Pujols took a 2-0 pitch from Kelvim Escobar that brushed off Hernandez’s mitt and allowed Castillo to score from third.

The Dominicans took a 1-0 lead in the first against starter Freddy Garcia. Polanco singled, moved to third on a double by Tejada and scored on Moises Alou’s infield single.

The Dominican Republic will play the winner of today’s Puerto Rico-Cuba game in the semifinals.

Japan 6, Mexico 1: At Anaheim, Calif., Daisuke Matsuzaka allowed one hit in five shutout innings and Japan beat Mexico 6-1 in the second round, putting the United States in danger of being eliminated before it plays again.

South Korea (2-0) can earn a berth in the semis by beating Japan (1-1).

If that happens, the United States (1-1) would also make it by beating Mexico (0-2) on Thursday. But if Japan beats South Korea, the Americans could be eliminated from contention even before playing Mexico based on a tiebreaker formula.

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