With one elimination game at hand and other teams fighting to stay alive, Saturday was one of the most exciting days of the 2013 World Baseball Classic so far. It featured a bench clearing brawl, a grand slam, and one of the top teams being ousted after just a pair of games.
Round 2 – Tokyo, Japan
Chinese Taipei 0, Cuba 14 (7)
With Round 2 being double elimination, Chinese Taipei and Cuba squared off to see who would go home early. Chinese Taipei was coming off a difficult loss to Japan and it showed.
Chinese Taipei had no life. I wouldn’t say they gave up because that is such a tough thing to say, but it was pretty close. The played with no passion, picked up just four hits, and got run out of the Tokyo Dome by Cuba.
Danny Betancourt got the start for Cuba and he dominated. He tossed six scoreless innings giving up only three hits to earn the win.
Every single pitcher for Chinese Taipei gave up at least one run.
Cuba once again showed off its power hitting four home runs. Frederich Cepeda got the home run derby started with a two-run shot in the first inning. Yasmany Tomas blasted a three-run shot in the fourth inning. Jose Abreu hit a long home run high over the center field wall in the sixth inning for a two-run shot, and Alfredo Despaigne hit his second, a solo shot in the sixth.
This game seemed to be over from the very beginning. Now that Cuba has some much needed confidence, look out. They will be very dangerous the rest of the way.
Pool C – San Juan, Puerto Rico
Dominican Republic 6, Spain 3
This game wasn’t as close as the score indicated. The Dominican Republic led the entire way with Spain never really threatening until the bottom of the ninth.
Samuel Deduno pitched well for the Dominica tossing four shutout innings allowing just four hits and striking out five. He picked up the win.
Walks were a problem for Spain. Starter Yoanner Negrin lasted just 2.1 innings giving up five runs on three hits and four walks.
The Dominican Republic came back in the top of the third to score three more runs on a pair of hits and three walks, all charged to Negrin.
Spain tried to get back in the game in the bottom of the ninth with some help from the Dominican pitchers. Jose Veras came in to finish the game, but he had trouble finding the strike zone. In the inning, Veras hit two batters and gave up two hits.
Veras was replaced by Tampa Bay Rays closer Fernando Rodney who came in with a four run lead and the bases loaded. He proceeded to walk the first batter, Barbaro Canizares, on four pitches. He then finished off the game with a strike out to pick up the save.
Pool D – Phoenix, Arizona
Canada 10, Mexico 3
Canada started the game off strong and finished even stronger. In the top of the first inning, Canada picked up four runs on five hits including a two-run single by Michael Saunders
Chris Leroux started and pitched well for Canada tossing three innings allowing just one unearned run. He gave up just two hits and struck out four before he reached his pitch limit.
Mexico made it close in the fourth inning scoring twice to make it 4-3. Gil Valazquez doubled in a run, and Eduardo Arredondo, who is hitting .545, drove in a second with a sacrifice fly.
Canada then went on the offensive scoring at least one run in the sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth innings. The ninth is when things go really interesting.
Canada pounded out 15 hits in the game led by Justin Morneau and Michael Saunders who both collected four hits and three RBI.
Marco Estrada took the loss pitching three innings giving up four runs on seven hits. The loss eliminates Mexico.
Pool C- San Juan, Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico 6, Venezuela 3
Nelson Figueroa out dueled Carlos Zambrano leading Puerto Rico to a win and a trip to Round 2. The loss eliminated Venezuela from the tournament. They will play Spain on Sunday trying to keep from having to qualify for the 2017 WBC.
Figueroa pitched four innings giving up just two runs on five hits. Giovanni Soto pitched great in relief tossing three scoreless innings. Fernando Cabrera picked up the save coming in to finish off the ninth inning.
Venezuela took a two run lead in the bottom of the third. Marco Scutaro got the scoring started with a RBI single. Two batters later Pablo Sandoval doubled scoring Scutaro, but right fielder Alex Rios and first baseman Martin Maldonado made a great relay throw to the plate cutting down a third run trying to score.
Puerto Rico tied the game a half inning later when Mike Aviles singled in a pair of runs. They took the lead an inning later on an Angel Pagan RBI single. But the big blow came in the top of the eighth.
Rios was hit by a pitch to start the inning. Carlos Beltran and Yadier Molina followed him with a singles to right field to load the bases. After an Aviles sacrifice fly, Francisco Rodriguez came in to relief. Pinch-hitter Luis Figueroa doubled in two more runs giving Puerto Rico a four run lead.
Pool D – Phoenix, Arizona
USA 6, Italy 2
Italy jumped out to a two run lead after two innings putting the USA against a wall.
Nick Punto led off the bottom of the first with a single, moved to second on an Anthony Rizzo single, and then to third on a force play. He would score the first run of the game when Ryan Vogelsong uncorked a wild pitch.
Vogelsong would pitch four innings and give up a second run in the second inning. All told he gave up two runs on six hits and struck out four. He would earn the victory. Ross Detwiler pitched the final four innings giving up just one hit to earn the save.
The USA finally got on the board in the fourth on a Joe Mauer RBI double, but the big blow came in the fifth inning.
After a pair of walks and a pair of singles, including a RBI single by Brandon Phillips, David Wright stepped to the plate with the bases loaded. With one swing, he finally gave the USA fans something to cheer about.
David Wright sent a Matt Torra offering over the left field wall for a grand slam home run. It was the hit the USA needed and finally got.
The win sets up an interesting scenario in Pool D. USA will face Canada on Sunday with the winner advancing and the loser going home. In fact, if the USA wins it finishes first in the pool. If it loses, it finishes last.