TORONTO (AP) – Henry Blanco homered and made a key throw in the ninth inning as Venezuela beat the United States 5-3 on Wednesday night to win Group C at the World Baseball Classic.

Gregor Blanco added three hits for Venezuela, which avenged a 15-6 loss to the Americans on Sunday night. Both teams are headed to the second round of the tournament in Miami, where the U.S. will open against Group D winner Puerto Rico (3-0) on Saturday night.

Venezuela will face a surprising Netherlands team earlier in the day.

Chris Iannetta hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning but Team USA couldn’t finish the comeback in the ninth.

Jimmy Rollins walked and Derek Jeter reached on a one-out error by third baseman Luis Maza. With cleanup hitter Kevin Youkilis at the plate, the United States tried a double steal and Blanco’s strong throw cut down Jeter – the trail runner – at second base. Francisco Rodriguez wrapped up the save by striking out Youkilis.

Victor Zambrano allowed one run and three hits in 3 2-3 innings to earn the win before a crowd of 12,358. He walked two and struck out one.

Puerto Rico 5, Netherlands 0

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Alex Rios hit an RBI triple and Puerto Rico beat the Netherlands 5-0 to finish undefeated in the first round of the World Baseball Classic.

Next up, an enticing matchup with the United States.

Carlos Beltran, Ivan Rodriguez and Geovany Soto each drove in a run for Puerto Rico (3-0), which won Group D and will face the U.S. in their second-round opener Saturday night in Miami.

It was the second win for Puerto Rico over a scrappy Dutch squad, which earlier eliminated the star-laden Dominican Republic.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.