SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, March 8 (UPI) -- Robinson Cano doubled twice and had three RBI Thursday in leading the Dominican Republic past Venezuela 9-3 in the World Baseball Classic.
It was the first game of a round-robin series of contests to be played in Pool C, which also consists of Spain and host Puerto Rico. The top two clubs at the end of the six games will move on to the next phase of the tournament, which concludes with the championship game in San Francisco on March 19.
The Dominican Republic took an early 5-0 lead, then put the game away with a three-run seventh that included a two-run double from Alejandro de Aza. Hanley Ramirez hit a solo homer and scored twice for the Dominican Republic and Nelson Cruz drove in two runs.
The win went to reliever Pedro Stroup, who retired the only five batters he faced. Edinson Volquez worked a perfect first inning for the winners, but was not sent back out following a 50-minute rain delay in the bottom of the first.
Both teams will return to action Saturday with the Dominicans taking on Spain and Venezuela facing Puerto Rico.