Results from Day 9 of the 2013 World Baseball Classic, which saw the conclusion of the first round and one of the four tickets to the semifinals in San Francisco punched.

Japan 16, The Netherlands 4 (7 innings)

All tournament long the Japanese offense struggled to score runs and had to use cluch and timely hits to stave off upset bids by Brazil and Chinese Taipei. But in a sold-out Tokyo Dome, the offense finally woke up and had a Godzilla-like performance as they blasted the Netherlands 16-4 to advance to the semifinal round in San Francisco. The game was called after 7 innings due to the mercy rule.

After Takashi Toritani set the tone by leading off the game with Japan's first homer of the tournament, the reigning Classic champs battered Dutch pitching with five more long balls, including a grand slam by Hayato Sakamoto (the third slam in Classic history) in the 7th inning. The six dingers hit by Nippon tied the Classic record for one game, set in 2009 by Cuba. Japan scores runs in every inning of the game, and while they were busy knocking around the Dutch pitching staff, starter Kenta Maeda was dominating the Kingdom of the Netherlands' batters. Maeda pitch 5 shutout innings while striking out 9 and allowing only one hit.

The Netherlands Kingdom got on the board in the 6th by plating 4 runs on a three-run double by Wladimir Balentien, and an RBI single from Andruw Jones, both off reliever Tetsuya Utsumi. But Japan put the game away for good in the 7th with Sakamoto's slam that put the sold-out Dome in a frenzy.

With the win, Japan advances to the semifinals for the third time. The Netherlands need to rebound quickly as they play Cuba on Monday for the second spot in the WBC semifinals.

Venezuela 11, Spain 6

With both teams eliminated, Venezuela and Spain were playing both for national pride and an automatic spot in the 2017 WBC. Venezuela's offense slept-walked in losses to Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, but woke up in time to stop Spain 11-6 to receieve an automatic bid to the 2017 WBC. Spain ends their WBC campaign winless, but showed that they can compete with some of the best teams in the world.

Venezuela erased an early 3-0 deficit by sending 11 men to the plate in a 6-run 4th inning, pounding out seven hits in the process. Carlos Gonzalez had two hits in the inning, Omar Infante doubled for his third hit of the game and pinch-hitter Elvis Andrus drove in a pair to give Venezuela its first lead of the game. Spain cut the lead to 6-5 in the fifth on a single by Salomon Manriquez that brought home Daniel Figueroa and Yunesky Sanchez. But Venezuela tacked on five more runs -- two in the sixth and three in the eighth -- with two in the eighth coming on somewhat ironic exclamation points in the form of back-to-back homers from Asdrubal Cabrera, who went 3-for-5 with three RBIs, and Pablo Sandoval.

USA 9, Canada 4

The game of the day was the win-or-go-home Pool D clash between bordering neighbors Canada and the USA. Both team got to this position with wins over Mexico and Italy respectively, and a ticket to the second round in Miami awaited the winner. For Team USA, a loss would put them in last place in the pool and they would have to go through the qualifying round in 2016 in order to compete in the 2017 Classic. Canada received an automatic invite to 2017 win or lose.

It didn't look good for the USA early as Canada jumped to a 2-0 lead in the second inning on a two-run homer by Michael Saunders off left-hander Derek Holland. But the USA rallied for a couple of runs in the 4th inning. However they found themselves trailing 3-2 heading to the 8th inning as the USA were still stranding runners on base and not getting the clutch hits you would expect from a lineup littered with All-Star players.

Then Adam Jones stepped up to the plate and delivered the cluch hit the Americans were desperately looking for. The Baltimore Orioles centerfielder ripped a two-run double to left center that Canadian centerfielder Tyson Gillies overplayed to give the USA a 4-3 lead. Jones would later score on an RBI single by Shane Victorino.

Canada closed the gap to 5-4 by scraping in a run in the botton of the 8th. Then in the 9th first baseman Eric Hosmer put the game out of reach with a bases-clearing double off of closer John Axford. Atlanta Braves closer Craig Kimbrel shut down any hopes of a Canadian comback by pitching a perfect 9th, striking out Joey Votto to end the game.

You wouldn't tell by the 9-4 final score that this game was a tighly-contested, hard-fought game by both squads and had the feel of a playoff or even a World Series game. With the win, USA finishes Pool D play at 2-1 and won thew pool due to their head-to-head win over Italy. The USA will play Puerto Rico in the second game on Tuesday in Miami. Italy finishes as the runner-up to the pool and will play the Dominican Republic in the first game on Tuesday. Canada will have to wait until 2017 to try to advance out of the first round for the first time.

Dominican Republic 4, Puerto Rico 2

The final game of Pool C and the final game of the first round of the 2013 WBC also had a festive, playoff-type atmosphere with two teams that have already advanced to Miami and playing for the top spot in the pool. The Dominicans beat host Puerto Rico 4-2 behind the hitting of Robinson Cano, who went 3-5 including a game-tying home run, and and Alejandro De Aza, who drilled a double off of the center-field wall to bring Carlos Santana home and give the Dominican Republic a 3-2 lead after 6 innings.

Cano went 9-for-15 in the three games and was the unaminous choice for MVP of the pool.

Mike Aviles launched a two-run homer in the 4th to give Puerto Rico a 2-1 lead and sent the San Juan home crowd in a frenzy. But Cano quieted the crowd with his game-tying dinger in the 5th, and the Dominican bullpen took care of the Puerto Rican hitters from that point on. Fernando Rodney recorded his second save of the tournament.

Pool C Standings
y-Dominican Republic 3-0
x-Puerto Rico 2-1
Venezuela 1-2
Spain 0-3

Pool D Standings
y-USA 2-1
x-Italy 2-1
Canada 1-2
Mexico 1-2

Second Round Pool 1 Results (Tokyo, Japan):
Netherlands 6, Cuba 2
Japan 4, Chinese Taipei 3 (10 innings)
Cuba 14, Chinese Taipae 0 (7 innings) - Chinese Taipei eliminated
Japan 16, Netherlands 4 (7 innings) - Japan advances to semifinals
Netherlands vs. Cuba, 3/11 (winner advances to semifinals)

Second Round Pool 2 Schedule (Miami, FL):
Italy vs. Dominican Republic, 3/12 1:00 PM EDT
USA vs. Puerto Rico, 3/12 8:00 PM EDT