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Puerto Rico hammers US

CARLOS Beltran and Felipe Lopez hit home runs to help Puerto Rico thrash the United States 11-1 in the second round of the World Baseball Classic in Miami, Florida, on Saturday.

The Puerto Rican team scored six runs in just two innings off US starter Jake Peavy before the game was ended after just seven innings due to the tournament's mercy rule.

The US finished eighth in the 2006 inaugural Classic but was considered a serious contender this time and now must play the Netherlands in an elimination game today, with the loser going out.

"Embarrassment is the only word that comes to mind," US right fielder Adam Dunn said. "It is unacceptable."

Puerto Rico took a 6-0 lead after two innings and after the teams traded runs in the fifth inning, then scored four more runs in the bottom of the seventh to end the game.

"I take full responsibility for the...loss," Peavy said. "Nothing was working."

Puerto Rico catcher Ivan Rodriguez, playing in Miami for the first time since he helped the Florida Marlins win the 2003 World Series, went 3-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI to hike his WBC batting average to .600. Beltran also had three hits and scored three runs, while Lopez had three RBI.

Javier Vazquez pitched five innings for the win, allowing one run on four hits.

Also, Miguel Cabrera and Jose Lopez belted solo home runs to help Venezuela to a 3-1 win over the Netherlands.

Carlos Silva allowed one run and four hits in seven innings, and Lopez's homer in the eighth provided some insurance. Francisco Rodriguez got the last four outs for the save.

Sidney Ponson allowed just two runs on two hits over five innings but took the loss for the Dutch after Cabrera hit a line-drive home run in the fourth.

Venezuela will play Puerto Rico tomorrow for a chance to clinch a spot in the semifinals in Los Angeles next week.


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