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Cano 1-for-3, Nuno near perfect in Dominican Republic's 8-2 win over Yankees

03/06/2013 11:39 AM ET
By Lou DiPietro

Wearing a different uniform, Robinson Cano was 1-for-3 in Tampa Wednesday.(AP)
Robinson Cano was 1-for-3 with an RBI, and Vidal Nuno was nearly perfect in his four innings on the mound at Steinbrenner Field on Wednesday…but unfortunately for the Yankees, those performances came in the uniform of the Dominican Republic, who topped the Bombers 8-2 in a pre-World Baseball Classic exhibition game in Tampa.

While the Dominicans scored their eight on 13 hits, Nuno and a trio of relievers – including lefty Juan Cedeno, who will almost certainly open 2013 at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre – held the Yankees hitless for 6 2/3 innings, allowing just three walks until Atahualpa Severino surrendered a two-run home run to Zoilo Almonte with two outs in the seventh inning to get the Bombers on the board in both the left two columns.

Catcher Bobby Wilson followed with a ground-rule double that nearly cleared the right field wall on a fly, but Lorenzo Barcelo came in and struck out Thomas Neal looking to end the inning. That unfortunately would be it for the Yankees offense, however, as the Bombers went 1-2-3 in the eighth against Barcelo, and lefty Josh Spence, a Yankees farmhand loaned to the Dominican staff for the day, allowed just a walk to third baseman Dan Johnson in pitching a scoreless ninth.

Bombers starter Hiroki Kuroda was strong, allowing just two hits in his three innings while striking out four, but once the bullpen came in, the Dominican Republic would continue the hot hitting that saw them hang 15 runs and 28 hits on the Phillies one day earlier.

In the fourth, the Dominicans got on the board when Indians catcher Carlos Santana blooped a single to right field in front of Juan Rivera, scoring Hanley Ramirez to give the island nation a 1-0 lead.

The Dominicans then tried to break it open Cano’s RBI single came in the fifth off Clay Rapada, who retired leadoff batter Alejandro de Aza but then found trouble. After Jose Reyes singled and Erick Aybar walked, Cano laced a single to right that was bobbled slightly by Rivera, allowing Reyes to score and give the Dominicans a 2-0 lead.

Rapada then walked Edwin Encarnacion to load the bases, but Jim Miller came in and got Hanley Ramirez to hit into a 6-4-3 double play – one that saw Eduardo Nunez make a great scoop and toss to Jayson Nix in the middle of it – to escape the threat.

The Dominicans did end up breaking it open in the sixth by scoring three runs off Miller; Carlos Santana walked and then scored on a double by Ricardo Nanita to make it 3-0, de Aza followed with an RBI triple to make it 4-0, and later a walk to Reyes, Aybar had an RBI groundout to score de Aza and push the lead to 5-0.

Their next two runs came courtesy of a pair of miscues from Johnson, with a fielding error leading to a Reyes RBI groundout in the seventh and a throwing error allowing Miguel Tejada to score and make it 7-2 in the eighth, and the Dominicans would cap the scoring in the ninth when Ricardo Nanita doubled, advanced to third when Jose Reyes grounded out, and scored on an infield single by Aybar.

The game does not count in the Grapefruit League standings for the Yankees, so they remain at 3-8 and will now head to the East Coast of Florida for a pair of games; they will play the Cardinals on Thursday and the Marlins on Friday, with both games in Jupiter, before returning home to host the Braves Saturday afternoon on YES.

Follow Lou DiPietro on Twitter: @LouDiPietroYES

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