The 2013 World Baseball Classic Pools C and D got under way yesterday in Arizona and Puerto Rico. The first game of the day provided some great entertainment in what has to be the most exciting game of the Classic so far. So let’s run down the day’s action.
Pool D – Phoenix, Arizona
Italy 6, Mexico 5
In the most exciting game so far, Italy scored two in the top of the ninth to upset Mexico in both teams first game. The Giants Sergio Romo blew the save and took the loss, but he didn’t get much help. Left fielder Edgar Gonzalez misplayed a ball that landed as a double for Nick Punto. He then misplayed another ball by Anthony Rizzo that wound up being a two-run double.
However, the player of the ninth inning had to be Chris Denorfia who had the at bat of the game. With one out, a runner at second, and an 0-2 count, Denorfia took three straight close sliders for balls to run the count full. He then fouled off four more sliders before getting one he could handle and singling to left field. That at bat kept the inning alive and allowed him to reach first from where he would score on a great read on Rizzo’s double.
Pool C – San Juan, Puerto Rico
Venezuela 3, Dominican Republic 9
The Dominican Republic jumped on Venezuala starter Anibal Sanchez scoring three runs off of him in the first inning. Sanchez lasted a third of an inning giving up three runs on three hits.
It all started with a Jose Reyes single. Erick Aybar tried to sacrifice Reyes to second, but Sanchez couldn’t make the play and it was first and second with Robinson Cano coming up. Cano made Sanchez pay with a two-run double to get the scoring started. A few batters later Nelson Cruz singled in Cano and it was 3-0.
Cano would come up again in the bottom of the second with runners aboard. Alejandro De Aza singled to lead of the inning. After another Reyes single and a force out, Cano once again doubled in two runs.
Venezuela made it a game over the next few innings scoring two in the third and one in the fourth to pull within 5-3, but that’s as close as they got.
The Dominican bullpen came on and shut them down the rest of the way starting with Octavio Dotel. Pedro Strop came in for 1.2 innings and picked up the win striking out two and not allowing a hit. Following Strop was a steady diet of good relievers with Lorenzo Barcelo, Santiago Casilla, and Fernando Rodney.
While the bullpen shut down Venezuela, the bats were still getting the job done.
The Dominican would get a single run in the fifth inning on a Hanley Ramirez home run and three more in the seventh inning.
Round 2 – Tokyo, Japan
Netherlands 6, Cuba 2
The Netherlands stayed hot behind another strong outing from Diegomar Markwell who tossed six innings allowing just one run on nine hits.
The lone run against Markwell came in the second inning on an Alfredo Despaigne solo home run.
The Netherlands led the entire way in this one behind Markwell. Freddy Alvarez came in to pitch in relief for Cuba and settled down to pitch 3.2 innings of scoreless relief, but then the Dutch finally got to him.
With one out in the sixth inning Kalain Sams doubled. After getting one more out, Alvarez walked Simmons and was pulled from the game. His relief gave him no help. The first batter Yadier Pedroso saw was Jonathan Schoop who blasted a three-run home run over the left field wall giving the Netherlands a 5-1 lead.
That’s all they needed.