Team USA upends Dominican Republic in World Baseball Classic

Manny Machado keeps doing Manny things for the Dominican Republic

Puerto Rico will play the Netherlands in the first semifinal game Monday at Dodger Stadium, and its victory over the US rendered the final game of pool play Saturday afternoon meaningless because of the way the other games have played out. The final four teams are Japan, Netherlands, Puerto Rico and the United States.

While Venezuela struggled to find their footing, Puerto Rico tacked on another five runs in the seventh inning.

A throwing error by U.S. third baseman Nolan Arenado gave them two unearned runs and a 6-3 lead in the sixth. That loss moved Puerto Rico into the semi-finals, and it set-up this victor take all game.

Tonight, in San Diego, CA's Petco Park, the US and Dominican Republic meet again in a win-or-go-home WBC matchup, with the victor moving on to play Japan in LA's Dodger Stadium on Tuesday night.

Giancarlo Stanton hit a tie-breaking two-run homer in the fourth inning for the Americans who reached the semi-finals of the worldwide elite tournament for the first time since 2009. Stanton homered in the following inning and the United States of America took a 4-2 lead.

Whatever the reason, Puerto Rico is playing like a team inspired.

The Dominican Republic were on the board out of gate facing USA Danny Duffy with their early 2-0 lead.

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Duffy allowed two runs, one earned, and six hits in four-plus innings. The Americans rode strong performances from Giancarlo Stanton - Leyland's No. 8 hitter, naturally - and their bullpen to a 6-3 win over the Dominican Republic in a loser-goes-home finale in Pool F.

Starter Jose De Leon pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings for the win. Some of their six singles were well hit, some came while fighting off good pitches, but they all counted and with a sacrifice fly thrown in it added up to a 4-0 lead.

In this context, the Boricuas' win over the United States team provides a small, prideful moment for an island in need of such reliefs. He didn't start either of the two previous USA games at Petco. When Team USA manager Jim Leyland released his lineup, his best hitter (Paul Goldschmidt) and best catcher (Buster Posey) were both on the bench.

Team Venezuela promptly bounced back with a two-run homer from Rougned Odor, but failed to build on that momentum during the last three innings of the afternoon. Every starter had at least one hit, while eight starters had at least one run scored and seven had at least one RBI. He made a decision to keep Stroman in the game. However, in last night's match-up, the one hit he had was very important.

On social media, the party took a decidedly more pointed approach, as jokes rolled in about this being a game for Puerto Rican independence.

"It's a sense of pride to play for Puerto Rico, " says Aviles, an infielder for the Cleveland Indians.

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