Japan Plays Puerto Rico in World Baseball Classic Semifinal

Two-time defending champion Japan plays Puerto Rico and undefeated Dominican Republic faces Netherlands in the semifinals of the World Baseball Classic.

The Dominican Republic shut out Puerto Rico 2-0 yesterday to become the only team to enter the semifinals undefeated.

Japan, which won the first two classics in 2006 and 2010, will meet Puerto Rico today at AT&T Park in San Francisco. The other semifinal is tomorrow with the championship game on March 19.

In yesterday’s game, Cleveland Indians catcher Carlos Santana hit a home run to lead off the fifth and Pittsburgh Pirates lefthander Wandy Rodriguez pitched six innings of two-hit ball for the Dominican Republic in its game against Puerto Rico.

New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano, playing for the Dominican Republic, was voted the Most Valuable Player of Pool 2 after he batted .417 in the three games and hit a home run in a win over Italy.

“What I wanted was to go to the second round. Once we were in the second round, we wanted to go to the third round,” Cano told reporters. “You have to view it game by game. That was not only important to me, but important to all of our players.”

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