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Italy rallies in ninth, defeats Mexico 6-5

Mar 7, 2013, 6:59 PM EDT

Drew Butera Getty Images

Thanks to some shoddy outfield defense from Edgar Gonzalez, Italy pulled off a shocker Thursday, defeating Mexico 6-5 to start Pool D play in the World Baseball Classic.

Gonzalez, normally an infielder, misplayed two balls in left in the top of the ninth, opening the door for Italy’s two-run inning against Sergio Romo.

Anthony Rizzo was credited with a two-run double on a ball that bounced out of Gonzalez’s glove, giving Italy the lead. Mexico tried to rally in the bottom of the ninth, loading the bases against Jason Grilli before Jorge Cantu grounded out to end it.

Adrian Gonzalez, Edgar’s younger brother, reached base five times, and Cantu delivered a three-run double for Mexico.

Italy jumped out to a 2-0 lead against Rodrigo Lopez in the top of the first, but it didn’t last long, as Mexico responded by loading the bases in front of Cantu’s double in the bottom of the inning. Mexico added a fourth run on a Ramiro Pena double in the second.

Italy was able to come back and tie the game in the fourth, when Twins catcher Drew Butera hit a two-run homer. Mexico, though, again responded in the fifth. Luis Cruz doubled in Eduardo Arredondo to make it 5-4. The game might have ended with that score, but Gonzalez had trouble on both a ball hit over his head by Nick Punto and Rizzo’s fly in the ninth.

Pool D play will continue Friday afternoon, when Canada takes on Italy. Mexico and the United States will have their showdown Friday night, with Yovani Gallardo and R.A. Dickey slated to start. That would now seem to be a must-win game for Mexico.

  1. echech88 - Mar 7, 2013 at 7:40 PM

    Same team that got rocked by Angels minor leaguers yesterday.

    But yeah, this totally means something about international standing according to Morosi.

  2. jwbiii - Mar 7, 2013 at 8:10 PM

    IBAF rankings:
    2. USA
    6. Canada
    9. Italy
    11. Mexico
    The betting line heavily favored Mexico.

    • cktai - Mar 7, 2013 at 10:18 PM

      One of the reasons Italy ranks so high is because they managed to beat the Netherlands in the 2012 European Championship finals. Compared to that game (where I went as part of my bachelor party, baseball instead of strippers, not a bad trade-off actually) the Netherlands send out only two of the same position players (Curt Smith and Kalian Sams), while Italy sends out three (Colabello, Chiarini, and Granato).

      • cktai - Mar 7, 2013 at 10:55 PM

        Netherlands vs Cuba draws a crowd of a couple of thousand from the looks of it. Could have something to do with “Japanese” players Andruw Jones and Wladimir Balentien.

      • jwbiii - Mar 7, 2013 at 11:00 PM

        When you get below the top few teams in the IBAF rankings, one game can make a big difference. Had the Netherlands won that game, they would be #6 instead of #7, passing Canada. Italy would be #11, behind Australia and Mexico.

        Curt Smith was born in Canada. Given his last name, I’m guessing his mother is Dutch.

        A belated congratulations on your nuptials. I wish you a long and happy life together (takes large drink of a tasty dark ale).

      • cktai - Mar 7, 2013 at 11:10 PM

        Thanks, a long and happy life together is certainly the intention đŸ˜€

        According to the baseball-reference bullpen (an excellent wiki for obscure baseball players) Curt Smith was born in Curacao and part of the 2002 Little League world champions.

      • jwbiii - Mar 7, 2013 at 11:22 PM

        Whoops. When the “Curacao and Aruba born players shouldn’t be playing for the Netherlands” argument was going on a few days ago I looked up some places of birth. It was Leon Boyd who was born in Canada.

      • cktai - Mar 7, 2013 at 11:30 PM

        Ah yes, his mother is Dutch, she met his father when he was playing icehockey in the Netherlands. They then moved back to Canada. Incidentally, his granddad and greatgranddad were chairmen of the Dutch football club Feyenoord in Rotterdam.

        Funny story is that when Boyd decided to move to the Netherlands and play professional baseball here, he couldn’t find a club who wanted to take him. So he moved to Belgium and played for the Hoboken Pioneers (why are they called Pioneers when the concept does not exist in Belgium? I have no idea, but we also have a Hoofddorp Pioneers over here) until he was invited to the Dutch national team. He was then scouted and signed by his “hometown” club Neptunus.

      • blacksables - Mar 8, 2013 at 12:55 PM

        In European armies, pioneers are the same as combat engineers. As Belgium host many different nations due to NATO, that could have something to do with it.

        Maybe, just a guess.

  3. cosanostra71 - Mar 7, 2013 at 11:27 PM

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    I found that amusing.

    • cktai - Mar 7, 2013 at 11:33 PM

      Mexico could not taco them out of contention, however.

  4. anthonyverna - Mar 7, 2013 at 11:47 PM

    As an American with cousins in Italy, I must ask if the Italy baseball team has Italians or Americans of Italian heritage.

    • indaburg - Mar 8, 2013 at 1:26 AM

      The team has both Italian born and Italian-Americans.

    • jwbiii - Mar 8, 2013 at 1:58 AM

      Also the first Italian born and raised MLB player, Alex Liddi.

  5. twinsfanstl - Mar 8, 2013 at 7:55 AM

    Holy mother of opposite days….did it say But terrible contributed offensively? Dios Mio!

  6. wallio - Mar 8, 2013 at 8:13 AM

    Forza Azzuri!

  7. deaninajijic - Mar 8, 2013 at 12:11 PM

    Unfortunately SKY which is the main satellite service here in Mexico, had a repeat of a Netherland/Australia game scheduled so they cut off the Mexico/Italy game during a pitching change in the top of the 9th. Then had 15 minutes of commercials advertising the World Baseball Classic,, So those of us on Mexican Sky missed the end of the game. Can you say Heidi??????????

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