MIAMI, March 12 (UPI) -- Robinson Cano hit a long home run and scored the winning run Tuesday in the Dominican Republic's 5-4 World Baseball Classic win over Italy.
Italy scored four times in the first but managed just three hits the rest of the way while the Dominican Republic worked back into the game. Dominican Republic used a three-run seventh inning, in which Cano singled and scored to claim the win.
The Dominican Republic, one win from locking up a place in the WBC semifinals, advances to a game Thursday against the winner of Tuesday's game between Puerto Rico and the United States. Italy returns Wednesday for an elimination game against the Puerto Rico-United States loser.
Italy has been the surprise of the WBC and continued that with a fourth-run first inning that started with three walks, continued with a sacrifice fly and ended with a three-run Chris Colabello home run -- the only hit of the inning.
Jose Reyes hit a home run off the right-field foul pole in the third inning and Cano had his blast go off the second-deck facing in the sixth to get the Dominican Republic within 4-2.
Reyes, Erick Aybar and Cano had one-out singles that loaded the bases in the seventh off Italy reliever Pat Venditte (0-1) and Edwin Encarnacion walked to force in a run. Hanley Ramirez hit a sacrifice fly that tied the score and Nelson Cruz singled to right, driving in Cano.
Pedro Strop (1-0), the fourth Dominican Republic pitcher in the game, was given the win and Fernando Rodney earned a save.
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