Puerto Rico, Dominican advance at WBC
PHOENIX, Arizona (AFP) –
Angel Pagan went three-for-five as Puerto Rico booked a berth in the second round of the 2013 World Baseball Classic with a 6-3 victory over favoured Venezuela.
Puerto Rico’s victory guaranteed second round spots for them and the Dominican Republic who beat Spain by the same 6-3 margin earlier Saturday.
Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic meet on Sunday to determine the seeding for the second round which takes place in Miami, Florida.
Starting pitcher Nelson Figueroa allowed five hits and two runs over the first four innings before Giovanni Soto came in and shut Venezuela down over the next three innings in front of a crowd of 18,741 at Hiram Bithorn Stadium.
Venezuela and Spain, both 0-2, were eliminated.
Michael Saunders went four-for-four and Justin Morneau drove in three runs as Canada routed Mexico 10-3 Saturday in a Pool D contest that included a ninth-inning brawl.
Seven players were ejected, including Mexican pitcher Arnold Leon who beaned Canadian batter Rene Tosoni in the right scapula, leading to the benches-clearing brawl.
The wild scene came with Canada leading 9-3 in the top of the ninth. Canadian catcher Chris Robinson began the inning with a bunt single, which prompted Mexico third baseman Luis Cruz to apparently tell Leon to throw at the next batter, Tosoni.
After being hit, Tosoni walked towards the mound and both benches emptied. Cruz, who plays for the Los Angeles Dodgers, threw the first punch at a Canadian player and the brawl was on. Cruz was not thrown out of the game.
“I can’t believe he didn’t get tossed for instigating the whole thing,” Canadian batting coach Larry Walker told Yahoo! Sports.
Canada pitching coach Denis Boucher was hit in the face by a bottle thrown by Mexican fans who were standing behind the dugout hurling objects at the players and coaches, including baseballs.
Walker said he tried to act as a peacemaker and at the height of the brawl he grabbed Mexico’s Alfredo Aceves, who plays for the Boston Red Sox.
“I think I saw Satan in his eyes,” Walker said.
By the time play resumed, four Mexican players, Leon, Oliver Perez, Eduardo Arredondo and Aceves, and three Canadian players, Tosoni, Pete Orr and Jay Johnson had been thrown out.
Tournament officials said they would review the incident to see if further penalties were warranted.
Canada’s victory ensured European champion Italy will advance to the second round even before its game later Saturday night against the United States, which lost its opener to Mexico. The USA will close round-robin play Sunday against Canada.
In the earlier Pool C contest at Puerto Rico, Carlos Santana smacked a home run and Robinson Cano went three-for-five to spark the Dominican Republic over Spain.
The Dominicans, featuring an all-star selection of major league talent, were ousted in the first round of the 2009 Classic and have something to prove now.
The two top teams from each group advance to next week’s second round at Miami. Two clubs will advance from Miami to join two from Tokyo in semi-finals March 17-18 at San Francisco, where the final will be played on March 19.