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Puerto Rico gains semis

Puerto Rico's Kennys Vargas  (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Puerto Rico’s Kennys Vargas (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

SAN DIEGO (AFP) – Kennys Vargas smacked a two-run home run as undefeated Puerto Rico, already assured a semi-final berth in the World Baseball Classic, routed Venezuela 13-2 Saturday in the showcase for Major League Baseball talent.

The Puerto Ricans improved to 6-0 through the first two rounds of the event heading into Monday’s semi-final clash against the Netherlands at Los Angeles while Venezuela had already been eliminated.

Two-time champion Japan, also unbeaten at 6-0, will play in Tuesday’s other semi-final against the winner of Sunday’s final second-round game at San Diego between the United States and defending champion Dominican Republic.

Puerto Rico’s Francisco Lindor, who sat out the contest in advance of Monday’s matchup, refused to declare his squad the team to beat in the quadrennial global showdown among top elite world talent playing for homelands.

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