Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press

Team USA closer Craig Kimbrel pumps his fist after finishing off Sunday's 9-4 victory over Canada. Team USA won Group D and will face Puerto Rico in Miami on Tuesday.

Team USA tops Canada, breathes sigh of relief

Published: Monday, Mar. 11, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 3C
Last Modified: Wednesday, Mar. 13, 2013 - 6:34 pm

PHOENIX – Running out of outs, Adam Jones and Team USA suddenly broke loose and saved themselves from a humbling loss.

Now, thanks to a fast finish, they're heading to Miami for the next round of the World Baseball Classic.

Jones doubled in the tying and go-ahead runs in the eighth inning, Eric Hosmer hit a three-run double in the ninth, and the United States scored seven times in the last two innings to beat Canada 9-4 Sunday.

"Words can't describe it," Hosmer said, recalling how he felt standing on second base after his big hit. "It is hard to hold your emotions right there. It is just an unbelievable feeling, and when you hear the crowd chant 'USA' and the other crowd chanting 'Canada,' it is an unbelievable experience."

The winner of the game moved on, the loser went home. And for a long while, it didn't look good for manager Joe Torre's team.

"It would have been embarrassing," second baseman Brandon Phillips said. "I would have been embarrassed. USA, this is where baseball started, and we represent our country. I just feel that if we had lost, we didn't do our job. We have to go out there and try to be the first American team to win the WBC. "That is our goal."

Team USA and Italy each went 2-1 and advanced in Group D while Canada and Mexico went 1-2 and were eliminated.

Jones' hit was his second in nine at-bats. Hosmer, a late replacement on the U.S. roster for injured Mark Teixeira, was 3 for 13.

The United States won Group D, taking the tiebreaker thanks to its 6-2 victory over Italy. The U.S. team plays Group C runner-up Puerto Rico on Tuesday night in Miami.

Italy faces the Dominican Republic, which went 3-0 to win Group C.

Japan 16, Netherlands 4 in Tokyo – Two-time defending champion Japan hit a record-tying six home runs, scoring in all seven innings to rout the Netherlands and reach the semifinals.

Hayato Sakamoto's grand slam in the seventh inning that made it 16-4 and tied the team record of six homers, set by Cuba against South Africa in 2009. The game was called under the 10-run mercy rule when the Netherlands failed to close the gap in the bottom of the seventh.

The Netherlands plays Cuba on Tuesday, with the winner joining Japan in the semifinals in San Francisco on March 17 or 18.

Venezuela 11, Spain 6 in San Juan, Puerto Rico – Miguel Cabrera and Pablo Sandoval hit consecutive home runs for Venezuela.

Venezuela, which finished 1-2 in Group C, was eliminated from the competition Saturday with a 6-3 loss to Puerto Rico. Venezuela had more hits Sunday (16) than in its first two games combined.

Dominican Republic 4, Puerto Rico 2 in San Juan, Puerto Rico – Robinson Cano homered for the Dominicans. With both teams already assured of advancing, Puerto Rico's loss meant little, aside from seeding and pride.

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