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Team USA Smacks Two Eighth-Inning Dongs To Beat Venezuela

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Getty Images The winner of Tuesday's game faces Puerto Rico on Wednesday

Yadier Molina and Puerto Rico are moving on to the World Baseball Classic semifinals after scoring four runs in the first inning and then holding on for a wild 6-5 win against the United States on Friday night in San Diego.

The Americans play Puerto Rico on Friday night. The Astros allowed Carlos Correa, their starting shortstop, to shift to third base for Puerto Rico, and they understandably want Alex Bregman, their third baseman of the present and future, to see action for Team USA.

The first six hitters in the bottom of the first for Puerto Rico all singled off of Stroman, resulting in four runs.

The 28-year-old left-hander struck out seven over four shutout innings Sunday to get the USA out of the Miami pool ahead of Drew Smyly fanning eight in 4 2/3 strong innings in Tuesday's comeback win over Venezuela.

Team USA caught a break on the Crawford play, as he was clearly tagged out at third base. Stroman got Rivera to fly out to right to end it. When he announced on Twitter in December that he would pitch for Team USA, Stroman included the mea culpa, "sorry momma".

Hosmer also singled and scored on a sacrifice fly in the seventh inning as the United States erased a 2-0 deficit.

American and Birdland hero Adam Jones helped propel the U.S. team to a 4-2 victory over Venezuela in its first second round matchup.

Baez was hit by a pitch and stole second in the sixth before Rosario walked.

"Everybody's done a good job - 1 through 14", Team USA manager Jim Leyland said before Friday's game.

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Venezuela's Carlos Gomez (5) batting against US pitcher Andrew Miller (24) on Wednesday night at Petco Park.

Arenado got a tricky hop at third base, took a second to compose himself, then short-hopped the throw over to first base. It cost them against the Dominican Republic last week and it helped Puerto Rico pull away in this game.

With most of the 32,463 fans on their feet and chanting in the top of the ninth, a U.S rally fell just short. Single runs in the second, fifth and sixth innings - the latter on home runs from Buster Posey and Adam Jones respectively - cut the lead to one.

But the last hope for Team USA, Brandon Crawford, hit a one-hopper off the left field wall for a double. But Brandon Crawford tripled home two runs, pulling the US within one. He said Mexico's general manager called the two WBC representatives in Mexico seven times and sent several text messages and emails before Sunday's game inquiring about whatMexico needed to do mathematically to advance.

However, that was all Team USA would get as Diaz struck out Josh Harrison to end the game. Lugo struck out three, walked none, allowed only one hit and held the opposition scoreless.

Dominican third baseman Manny Machado made a great play to throw out Miguel Cabrera in the sixth.

Baez was sensational in this game.

The win moves Puerto Rico's overall record in the tournament to 5-0 and gives the team a spot in the semifinals against the Netherlands. Puerto Rico beat the Dominican Republic 3-1 on Tuesday night.

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