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Dominican Republic beats Puerto Rico 2-0 in WBC

Photo: /AP

Erick Aybar celebrates after scoring against Puerto Rico in the eighth inning.

MIAMI (AP) -- As a reward for their latest victory, the Dominicans get a day off. Even better, they avoid two-time defending champion Japan in the semifinals of the World Baseball Classic.

Wandy Rodriguez pitched six innings, and three relievers completed a three-hitter to help the unbeaten Dominican Republic top Puerto Rico 2-0 Saturday.

Carlos Santana broke a scoreless tie for the Dominicans with his second home run in the fifth inning.

Both teams had already qualified for the semifinals in San Francisco, and the game merely determined seedings. Puerto Rico plays Japan on Sunday night, and the Dominicans face the Netherlands on Monday night, with the winners advancing to the championship game Tuesday.

The Caribbean carnival that provided a soundtrack for games all week reached a crescendo on the final day in Miami, with the steady beat of drums and the bleat of air horns from a crowd of 25,846.

Rodriguez (1-0) allowed two hits and departed with a 1-0 lead. He retired all five batters he faced with runners in scoring position, and the Puerto Ricans finished 0 for 8 in those situations.

Fernando Rodney gave up a hit for the first time but earned his fifth save, extending his WBC record, and the Dominicans improved to 6-0 in the tournament.

The Puerto Ricans eliminated the United States on Friday but couldn't get their bats going barely 12 hours later. Their lone hits were a single by Carlos Rivera in the third inning, a double by Luis Figueroa leading off the fourth and a double by Mike Aviles with two out in the ninth.

Their best threat came with the game scoreless in the third, when Irvin Falu reached third with one out. With the infield in, he was retired easily trying to score on a grounder to shortstop Erick Aybar.

Puerto Rican starter Orlando Roman (0-1) allowed two hits in five innings, but one was Santana's. He pulled a 3-2 pitch into the second row of the upper deck in right field leading off the fifth.

Backup catcher Francisco Pena, who entered the game in the seventh, had a two-out RBI single in the eighth.

With both teams assured of moving on, the managers gave their starters some rest.

Rivera left the game in the third because of tightness in his left hamstring. Teammate Alex Rios, batting only 3 for 22 in the WBC, came out of the game in the fifth inning, and Dominicans Edwin Encarnacion and Hanley Ramirez departed after six innings.

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