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Dominican Republic rallies to edge Italy in WBC

Miami, FL (Sports Network) - The Dominican Republic rallied from a four-run deficit to beat Italy, 5-4, at Marlins Park in a World Baseball Classic second round game on Tuesday.

The Dominicans trailed 4-0 after a half-inning, but chipped away with solo homers by Jose Reyes in the third and Robinson Cano in the sixth before pulling ahead with three runs in the seventh.

The bottom of the seventh began with a pop up, but three straight singles by Reyes, Erick Aybar and Cano loaded the bases and resulted in Italy making a pitching change.

Luca Panerati replaced Pat Venditte (0-1) and walked Edwin Encarnacion on four pitches to force in a run. Brian Sweeney then took over on the mound, and Hanley Ramirez tied things up with a sacrifice fly to center field. A broken- bat, opposite-field single to right by Nelson Cruz plated Cano with the go- ahead run.

Italy went 1-2-3 in the eighth, and Fernando Rodney worked around a one-out walk in the ninth, getting Drew Butera to ground into a game-ending double play for the save.

The comeback made a winner out of Pedro Strop (1-0), who pitched a scoreless top of the seventh.

The Dominicans will face the the United States, a 7-1 winner over Puerto Rico, on Thursday, with a berth in the championship round on the line. Puerto Rico loser will play Italy in an elimination contest on Wednesday.

Team Italy scored four runs in the first off erratic Dominican Republic starter Edinson Volquez.

After throwing a strike to begin the game, the right-hander struggled mightily with his command. He threw 12 straight balls, loading the bases for Alex Liddi, who drove in a run with a sac fly to right. Chris Colabello followed with a three-run homer to the gap in right-center.

Volquez retired the next two batters to end the frame and settled down on the mound. He didn't allow another hit until back-to-back one-out singles by Nick Punto and Chris Denorfia ended his outing in the fifth.

With men on the corners, Juan Cedeno fanned Anthony Rizzo and Lorenzo Barcelo induced a groundout by Liddi to thwart the threat.

Italy starter Tiago Da Silva, meanwhile, tossed 5 1/3 strong innings. Cano's blast ended his day, and the Dominicans loaded the bases with two outs later in the sixth. Miguel Tejada came on as a pinch-hitter, but lined out to right to end the inning.

03/12 23:34:12 ET