SAN DIEGO – (Wire Service Report) – Gregory Polanco and Nelson Cruz hit solo home runs, and the Dominican Republic improved its chances of reaching the World Baseball Classic’s semifinals by posting a 3-0 win over Venezuela on Thursday in San Diego. Edinson Volquez struck out six in 4 1/3 scoreless innings as the Dominican starter. Five relievers completed the eight-hit shutout. Jeurys Familia allowed two hits in the ninth but struck out three to earn the save.
The defending champion Dominican team, a 3-1 loser to Puerto Rico on Tuesday, improved to 1-1 in the second-round pool. Venezuela, which lost its pool opener 4-2 to Team USA, slipped to 0-2 and is all but eliminated.
Polanco opened the scoring with a blast off Venezuela starter Jhoulys Chacin in the fifth inning. It was the only run Chacin allowed in 4 1/3 innings.
Robinson Cano hit an RBI single in the seventh inning, and Cruz added an insurance run in the eighth by homering off Arcenio Leon.
Team USA faces Puerto Rico on Friday and the Dominican Republic on Saturday. Puerto Rico opposes Venezuela on Saturday. The top two teams from the pool will join Japan and the Netherlands in the semifinals next week at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles