Yanks fall to Cano-led Dominican Republic squad

Yanks fall to Cano-led Dominican Republic squad

TAMPA, Fla. -- Facing the Yankees for the first time in his professional career, Robinson Cano drilled a run-scoring single as the Dominican Republic defeated New York, 8-2, in exhibition play on Wednesday at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

Wearing the blue, red and white of the Dominican's World Baseball Classic squad, Cano dug in against New York left-hander Clay Rapada in the fifth inning and smacked a hard single to right field, driving in Jose Reyes from second base.

Cano wasn't the only Yankee to shine against his club. Left-hander Vidal Nuno, a Minor Leaguer loaned to the Dominican team for the day because it is running low on pitching with tournament play approaching, held the Bombers hitless over four scoreless innings.

Nuno walked one and struck out four in the outing, throwing 35 of 56 pitches for strikes. He pitched last season at Class A Tampa and Double-A Trenton.

Hiroki Kuroda turned in his second start of the spring for New York, holding the Dominican squad to two hits over three scoreless innings. Kuroda walked none and struck out four, throwing 30 of 49 pitches for strikes.

"Great lineup; all the big league superstars," Kuroda said through an interpreter. "To be able to get the good results against them was a good feeling."

Kuroda faced Cano in the top of the first inning and induced a flyout to left field.

"I wish I could get better results, but he's a good hitter. I will take that out," Kuroda said, adding, "I wish I could strike him out."

The Dominican team added three runs in the sixth against Jim Miller. Ricardo Nanita smacked a run-scoring double, Alejandro De Aza tripled home a run and Erick Aybar knocked in a run with a groundout.

Zoilo Almonte's two-run homer in the seventh not only ended the shutout bid for the Dominican Republic, but it was the first hit for the Yankees in the game. 

Up next: Ivan Nova will make his second start of the spring on Thursday as the Yankees travel to play the Cardinals in Jupiter, Fla. Ichiro Suzuki is expected to be in New York's lineup for the contest. The Cardinals will counter with right-hander Joe Kelly for the 1:05 p.m. ET game at Roger Dean Stadium.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.