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Venezuela shuts out Puerto Rico

Winners secure a spot in the semifinals this weekend at Dodger Stadium.

March 17, 2009|Associated Press

Ramon Hernandez and his Venezuela teammates are headed to the semifinals of the World Baseball Classic.

Hernandez was awarded a home run Monday night after a bungled replay review and Venezuela defeated Puerto Rico, 2-0, in front of 25,599 in Miami to secure a spot in the final four at Dodger Stadium.

Cuba and Mexico played an elimination game in Pool 1 late Monday night in San Diego.

Puerto Rico lost for the first time in five WBC games and will face the United States in a Pool 2 elimination game tonight.

Felix Hernandez and four relievers combined on a five-hitter and stranded 10 runners against Puerto Rico, which had a .341 team batting average. Francisco Rodriguez retired all four batters he faced for his third save in the tournament.

Carlos Guillen singled home the first run in the third inning and Ramon Hernandez doubled the margin in the seventh, but only after much debate and a 10-minute delay.

Second base umpire Mark Wegner ruled Hernandez's drive to left-center field in play when the ball ricocheted back to the field, and Hernandez sprinted to third base. Replays showed the ball clearing the scoreboard and bouncing off retracted bleachers.

After Venezuela protested the call, the umpires went to watch a replay. The crew ruled the hit a home run.

But after the game, crew chief Ed Rapuano said the umpires were unable to see the replay on their monitor because the feed from New York wasn't working. So they came to a consensus and changed the call.

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