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Big League Stew

World Baseball Classic roundup: USA, Dominican Republic, Japan keep winning

Big League Stew

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Running back Monday's action from the World Baseball Classic:

USA 7, Puerto Rico 1: We saw the Team USA we've been waiting for. The dominant one. The one that knocks the ball around the field and pitches it sharply too. David Wright lived up to his "Captain America" nickname again, with two hits and five RBIs. Meanwhile, Gio Gonzalez gave the Americans their best starting pitching performance of the tournament, going five innings and striking out five while blanking Puerto Rico.

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Dominican Republic 5, Italy 4: Italy looked like it would shock the WBC again — for six innings at least. The Italians put up four runs in the first inning and held a 4-2 lead after the sixth. But the powerful, highly favored Dominican Republic team scored three in the seventh and held on to win. Jose Reyes and Robinson Cano both homered for Dominican Republic, which now moves on to face Team USA on Thursday in a battle of two WBC juggernauts.

Japan 10, Netherlands 6: In a game that wouldn't knock either team out of the tournament — they've both already advanced to the semifinals in San Francisco — Japan's offense came alive again to thump the Dutch team. Japan had already beaten them 16-4 on Sunday. This time, the defending champs scored eight runs in the second inning and didn't need anything else. With the win, Japan gets a No. 1 seed in San Francisco while Netherlands get a No. 2 seed. They play again Sunday and Monday, respectively.

[Related: Bragging rights up for grabs as superpowers U.S., D.R. meet]

LOOKING AHEAD:
• Only one game on Wednesday: The one-loss teams from Pool 2, Puerto Rico and Italy, play an elimination game (7 p.m. EST). The winner survives to face the loser to Thursday's USA-Dominican Republic game in another elimination game.

GOOD READ ALERT:
• Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports breaks down the battle of the superpowers between USA and Dominican Republic, the two teams in the tournament richest in MLB talent.

Are you ready for opening day?
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