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Dutch derail Dominicans; Cuba shaken

THE Netherlands shocked the Dominican Republic for the second time in four days scoring two runs in the 11th inning to claim a nail-biting 2-1 win on Tuesday and a berth in the second round of the World Baseball Classic.

Italy was also seeking its second upset within 24 hours after eliminating Canada on Monday until Venezuela belted a record four home runs in the fifth inning to seal a 10-1 win in Toronto and clinch a final eight place.

In Mexico City, Yosvani Peraza belted a two-run homer in the eighth inning to help Cuba rally for a 5-4 victory over an upset-minded Australia, the win securing a spot in the second round.

Yoenis Cespedes also went deep for a strong Cuban team that topped Pool B with a 2-0 record, but it was made to work hard for the win by the scrappy Australians, who led 4-3 until Peraza's intervention.

Australia now faces host Mexico in an elimination game today to decide who joins Cuba in the next stage of the international competition in San Diego.

The Dutch have quickly become the Cinderella story of the 16-nation tournament, twice upsetting a powerhouse Dominican squad loaded with major league talent that had been rated among the championship favorite.

After 10 scoreless innings in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the Dominicans thought they had survived a scare when Jose Reyes scored on a fielding error by Eugene Kingsdale in the top of 11th to take a 1-0 lead.

But the Dutch hit back in the bottom of the inning, as Kingsdale redeemed himself dropping a bloop single into right to score Sidney de Jong for the tying run then raced home scoring the winner when Dominican first baseman Willie Aybar fumbled Yurendell de Caster's liner to right.

The Netherlands will face Puerto Rico today for first place in Pool D. Puerto Rico needed a late rally to win the first game between the teams, 3-1 on Monday.

Italy, which beat Canada 6-2 on Monday, was hunting for another upset but could not defuse Venezuela's explosive bats.

The South Americans pounded eight Italian pitchers for 14 hits, including a WBC record four homers in a single inning from Bobby Abreu, Miguel Cabrera, Jose Lopez and Ramon Hernandez.

Venezuela joins the US in the next round, the two teams meeting today to decide top spot in Pool C.

"On such an important game as this one, when you score first, you always put a lot of pressure on the other team," Venezuela manager Luis Sojo told reporters.


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