San Diego – The United States upset defending champion Dominican Republic 6-3 to reach the semi-finals of the World Baseball Classic where they will face two-time winners Japan.

Giancarlo Stanton hit a tie-breaking two-run homer in the fourth inning for the Americans who reached the semi-finals of the international elite tournament for the first time since 2009.

“We beat a great team and held down a great lineup. These guys were ready to play. Tonight we were the better team,” said US manager Jim Leyland.

Andrew McCutchen added two-run double in the eighth at Petco Park and the US avenged a first-round loss to the Dominicans.

“It was good for us to show up and get this win tonight,” said McCutchen.

© Getty DENIS POROY United States players celebrate after beating the Dominican Republic 6-3 in World Baseball Classic to reach the semi-finals

© Getty DENIS POROY – United States players celebrate after beating the Dominican Republic 6-3 in World Baseball Classic to reach the semi-finals