One of the most talented teams in the World Baseball Classic won't be making it to the second round.
Venezuela, which has a lineup brimming with star players, lost 6-2 today to Puerto Rico, dropping the Venezuelans to 0-2 and eliminating their chance to advance to the second round of the WBC. Puerto Rico improved to 2-0 with victories over Spain and Venezuela, meaning Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic will advance from Pool C to the second round in Miami. Italy has already qualified for Miami from Pool D in Phoenix.
Venezuela took a 2-0 lead after the third inning, when Omar Infante hit a one-out double then scored the first run of the game on a single to left field by Marco Scutaro, who advanced to second on the throw home. Scutaro scored the second run of the game on a two-out double down the right field line by Pablo Sandoval.
Puerto Rico made it 2-2 in the fourth when Mike Aviles hit a two-out, bases-loaded single to center field to score Irving Falu and Alex Rios. The Puerto Ricans took a 3-2 lead in the fifth when Angel Pagan hit a two-out single to center field to score Martin Maldonado from second base.
Puerto Rico held a one-run edge until the eighth inning when it pulled away from Venezuela with a three-run inning. Puerto Rico loaded the bases when its first three hitters—Rios (hit by pitch), Carlos Beltran (single) and Yadier Molina (single)—reached safely. Aviles, the next batter, made it 4-2 with a sacrifice fly that scored Rios and moved Beltran over to third. After Carlos Rivera struck out looking for the second out of the inning, Venezuela summoned Francisco Rodriguez from the bullpen. Rodriguez couldn't retire Luis Figueroa, who doubled to right field to score Beltran and Molina, making it 6-2 Puerto Rico.
In the bottom of the ninth, after Carlos Gonzalez led off the inning with a groundout, Salvador Perez and Martin Prado hit back-to-back doubles to make it 6-3, but Fernando Cabrera struck out Miguel Montero and got Infante to pop out to end the game.
Venezuela plays 0-2 Spain tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. E.T.