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Australia ousted; Venezuela stuns US

KARIM Garcia went 4-for-4 with two home runs as Mexico eliminated Australia from the World Baseball Classic with a six-inning, 16-1 victory in Mexico City on Wednesday.

Garcia's three-run homer in the sixth capped a four-run inning and the mercy rule meant Mexico wouldn't need to go the full nine innings to move to the second round.

Mexico will face Cuba today for first place in Pool B. Both teams are headed for San Diego, where Japan and South Korea await.

Edgar Gonzalez had three RBI for Mexico, and Jorge Campillo pitched four shutout innings to earn the victory.

Mexico lost its first game to Australia, 7-17.

Australia starter David Welch allowed four runs and four hits and three innings.

Elsewhere, Venezuela avenged a crushing loss to the United States with a gritty 5-3 win, taking top spot in Pool C in Toronto while Puerto Rico beat the Netherlands 5-0 in San Juan to finish undefeated in Pool D.

Venezuela was thrashed 6-15 on Sunday but turned the tables on Wednesday by pounding US pitchers for 12 hits, handing the Americans their first loss of the 16-nation tournament.

Important game

"We had to make a statement," Venezuela manager Luis Sojo told reporters. "Tonight it was a big game for us because we cannot go to Miami and think this is not an important game for us."

Venezuela and the US, which had already clinched berths in the next stage before the game, now head to Miami for the second round where they will be joined by Puerto Rico and surprise package the Netherlands.

The US mustered just seven hits against some determined pitching and fell behind 0-1 in the third on Henry Blanco's leadoff homer.

The Americans tied the score in the bottom of the fourth when Ryan Braun ripped a two-out double into the right field corner to score Derek Jeter, but the South Americans reclaimed the lead in the top of the fifth on Gregor Blanco's RBI triple.

Venezuela went 4-1 up in the sixth when Marco Scutaro drove a two-run single to center then tacked on another run in the seventh on Melvin Mora's RBI single.

Chris Iannetta pulled the US within striking distance with a two-run homer in the eighth but it failed to spark a rally.


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