Fists fly in Canada win, Puerto Rico advances
- Published: 10/03/2013 at 12:49 PM
- Online news:
Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic booked berths in the second round of the World Baseball Classic while Canada battled its way past Mexico in a game marred by a ninth-inning brawl.
Eduardo Arredondo (L) of Mexico fights with Jay Johnson of Canada during the World Baseball Classic on March 9, 2013. The wild scenes came with Canada leading 9-3 in the top of the ninth. Seven players were ejected after the brawl escalated.
Michael Saunders went four-for-four and Justin Morneau drove in three runs as Canada routed Mexico 10-3 in a Pool D contest that saw seven players ejected following a benches-clearing fight.
One of those was Mexican pitcher Arnold Leon who drilled Canadian batter Rene Tosoni in the right scapula, leading to the brawl with Canada leading 9-3 in the top of the ninth inning.
The wild scene came moments after Canadian catcher Chris Robinson began the inning with a bunt single. That 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 fists started flying. 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 like suspensions were warranted.
Puerto Rico and the Dominicans guaranteed their spots in the second round in Miami with 6-3 wins Saturday.
They meet on Sunday to determine the seeding for the second round which takes place in Miami, Florida.
Angel Pagan went three-for-five as Puerto Rico surprised the favoured Venezuela team.
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.
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.
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 beat Italy 6-2 in the late game and will close out the round-robin play Sunday with a winner-take-all game against Canada with the victor advancing to Miami.
Venezuela and Spain, both 0-2, were eliminated along with Mexico.
The two top teams from each group advance to next week's second round. 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.
About the author
- Writer: AFP
Position: News agency