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Stanton's Homer, Jones' Leap Carry US Into WBC Semifinals


Luckily, it didn't matter.

When these two teams took the field at Marlins Park last Saturday, the U.S. led the game late. They dominated Venezuela on Saturday afternoon, capitalizing on a strong showing from starter Jose De Leon and putting up a five-spot in the seventh inning en route to a 13-2 finish. After a throwing error by shortstop Brandon Crawford, Duffy allowed a double to Robinson Cano, giving the Dominicans a 1-0 lead.

In the second inning, the Dominicans started out the inning with a single and a double.

In the top of the third inning, after Ian Kinsler drove in Stanton on a fielder's choice, Christian Yelich delivered a RBI double that tied the game at two.

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Giancarlo Stanton hit a tie-breaking two-run homer in the fourth inning for the Americans who reached the semi-finals of the global elite tournament for the first time since 2009. Cruz hit a one-out double off Pat Neshek, who then retired Carlos Santana on a popup and struck out Marte.

A half inning later, Team USA had an opportunity to score and took advantage of it. Stanton poked a hit to right field, and a successfully executed hit-and-run from Stanton and Jonathan Lucroy put runners on the corners with nobody out.

That would all but end the proceedings. Then in the eighth the US would get the insurance runs they direly needed as Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen doubled sharply to center scoring Yelich and Eric Hosmer. Dyson pitched a ideal bottom of the ninth and gave way to Luke Gregerson for the save. On a first-pitch fastball, he lined a no-doubt home run to left field to give the USA a 4-2 lead, send the crowd into a frenzy, and end Santana's start. Stanton owns three of those four. Still, no one was overused, enabling Leyland to have a full arsenal of relievers for Saturday's epic rematch against the Dominican Republic. The atmosphere of this game suggests otherwise. The Netherlands will play Puerto Rico and the United States team will play Japan. He drew another walk in this game. The veteran pitcher was added to the roster after the first round, and he brings with him a lot of big league success.

Kinlser is the only Tiger regular left at the WBC.

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Archer was only set to be available on Wednesday, but the Rays need to win a semifinal game against Japan on Tuesday to qualify. Puerto Rico takes on the Netherlands tonight, while Team USA will take on Japan tomorrow night in the second semifinal.

"Once we went up 5-0 they didn't care", Jones said.

The U.S. won the the first 2013 matchup, 7-1, behind left-hander Gio Gonzalez and a five-RBI game by David Wright, but Puerto Rico won the one that really mattered.

The victor between Puerto Rico and Netherlands will advance to Wednesday night's championship game, also at Dodger Stadium.

What you missed on TV: Mike Aviles and Hector Santiago may have grown up in NY and New Jersey, respectively, but passionately talked before the game how much it means to them to play for Puerto Rico.

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