Baseball roundup: U.S. beats Puerto Rico

STEVEN WINE AP Sports Writer Published:

MIAMI (AP) -- Gio Gonzalez gave Team USA its best start yet, and David Wright provided a big finish.

Gonzalez pitched five scoreless innings and the Americans beat Puerto Rico 7-1 in the World Baseball Classic on Tuesday night.

Wright drove in five runs, the last three with a bases-loaded double in the eighth. That prompted chants of "U-S-A! U-S-A!" from the crowd of 32,872.

"Obviously the adrenalin gets pumping for this tournament," Wright said. "You wear that uniform, you want to go out there and represent your country. Hitting in this lineup is ridiculous. You have some of the best hitters in the game, and it creates some matchup problems."

The United States fell behind in all three games in the opening round, but led from the first inning against Puerto Rico.

The Americans will play Thursday night against the Dominican Republic, which remained unbeaten in the WBC by rallying past Italy 5-4 on Tuesday.

"It's a marquee matchup," U.S. manager Joe Torre said. "They haven't lost. They've got some guys having some fun. They have a lot of confidence. But I feel good about my team."

Puerto Rico plays Italy in an elimination game Wednesday.

"If you go inside our clubhouse, everybody is up," manager Edwin Rodriguez said. "We lost today. Turn the page. We concentrate on Wednesday."

Gonzalez, who grew up in nearby Hialeah, struck out five for the hometown team and departed with a 3-0 lead.

Manager Joe Torre then went to his bullpen, and five relievers combined to allow one run over the final four innings.

Wright had an RBI groundout in the third and a run-scoring single in the fifth. He's 7 for 16 (.438) with 10 RBIs in four games.

Joe Mauer's two-out RBI double scored Ryan Braun with the first U.S. run in the opening inning. The Americans added a run in the third on singles by Brandon Phillips and Braun and Wright's RBI groundout.

Adam Jones had a two-run RBI single in the seventh.

Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton earned a big cheer from the Miami crowd when he made a running catch at the warning track to rob Martin Maldonado of a two-out, two-RBI hit in the fourth inning. Stanton also singled twice and walked.

Braun and Mauer each reached base four times.

Five U.S. relievers combined to allow one run over the final four innings.

Dominican Republic wins

MIAMI -- Nelson Cruz's two-out RBI single broke a seventh-inning tie, and the Dominican Republic overcame an early four-run deficit to beat Italy 5-4 Tuesday in the World Baseball Classic.

The Dominicans (4-0) remained unbeaten and advanced to a winner's-bracket game Thursday night in the double-elimination second round.

Robinson Cano had three hits, including his second homer of the WBC with a drive off the upper-deck facade in right field. Jose Reyes also homered for the Dominican Republic.

Chris Colabello hit a three-run homer, his second, to give Italy a 4-0 lead in the first inning.

Latos has good outing

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Reds' Mat Latos allowed one run in four innings and the Dodgers' Josh Beckett gave up his first run of the spring in Cincinnati's 6-2 win over Los Angeles on Tuesday night.

Latos struck out six after allowing hits to the first two batters of the game. Dee Gordon started the game with a single and stole second. Mark Ellis singled Gordon home.

Beckett, coming off a disappointing 2012 season, gave up a home run to Shin-Soo Choo, but only one other hit and two walks in 4 1-3 innings.

It was Choo's first home run of the spring.

Ted Lilly, who is in competition to regain a spot in the Dodgers rotation, allowed a run-scoring triple to Donald Lutz to score former Dodger, Xavier Paul.

Devin Mesoraco, competing for the job as backup catcher, broke the game open with a bases clearing three-run double off Lilly.

Lilly allowed five runs, two earned, in 22/3 innings.

Santiago belts grand slam

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Ramon Santiago hit a grand slam and Don Kelly also homered off Roy Halladay, leading the Detroit Tigers to a 10-6 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday.

Detroit starter Drew Smyly allowed three runs -- two earned -- and five hits in 31/3 innings, and Brayan Pena also went deep.

Chase Utley hit his first homer of the spring for the Phillies.

The Tigers roughed up the Halladay for seven runs in 22/3 innings. The two-time Cy Young Award winner allowed six hits and walked four in his poorest outing this spring. He came in with a 2.16 ERA in three starts.

Halladay is coming off an injury-plagued year in which he had his fewest wins (11) since 2004 and the second-worst ERA (4.49) in his career.

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