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Meneses homers twice, Mexico clobbers US 11-5 in WBC

PHOENIX (AP) — Joey Meneses hit two homers, including a crucial three-run shot in the fourth inning, to lead Mexico to an 11-5 win over the United States in the World Baseball Classic on Sunday at Chase Field.

Meneses got the sellout crowd of 47,534 — mostly cheering for Mexico — on its feet in the first inning with his first homer, which gave Mexico a 2-0 lead. Those cheers got even louder in the fourth for his encore, which was a blast deep into the left-center seats that brought home Randy Arozarena and Alex Verdugo and made it 7-1.

Meneses hit his first homer off starter Nick Martinez, who took the loss, and the second off Brady Singer. Mexico starter Patrick Sandoval gave up one run over three innings, earning the win.

The 30-year-old Meneses became an unlikely MLB slugger in 2022 after spending over a decade in the minors and playing overseas. He debuted with the Nationals last season, batting .324 with 13 homers in just 222 at-bats.

Mexico kept piling onto the lead in the eighth, sending nine players to the plate and scoring four runs off Daniel Bard to make it 11-2.

The Americans scored three runs in the eighth to make the final outcome more respectable. Tim Anderson had two hits and three RBIs, while Will Smith hit a solo homer.

In Tokyo, Japan won Group B with a 4-0 record and will play a quarterfinal Thursday against Italy, which advanced along with Cuba from Group A on tiebreakers. Matt Harvey got the win as Italy defeated the Netherlands 7-1, causing all five teams to finish 2-2.

South Korea beat the Czech Republic 7-3 in the day’s other Group B game, and Cuba defeated Taiwan 7-1 in Group A.

In Group C, Canada beat Britain 18-8 before Mexico’s big win over the U.S. In Group D, Venezuela beat Puerto Rico 9-6 and Israel topped Nicaragua 3-1.

AUSTRALIA 8, CZECH REPUBLIC 3

TOKYO (AP) -- Australia defeated the Czech Republic 6-3 on Monday and advanced to the quarterfinals.

It’s the first time Australia has reached the second round after appearing in all four previous tournaments.

Australia finished 3-1 in Group B behind Japan, which was 4-0.

Australia will face Cuba, the top team in Group A, in one quarterfinal. Japan will play Italy, which finished second in Group A in Taichung, Taiwan. Both quarterfinals are at the Tokyo Dome.

Logan Wade’s two-run double in the seventh off the right field wall broke a 1-1 tie and drove in Robbie Glendinning and Aaron Whitefield.

Australia took a 1-0 lead in the first on Alex Hall’s solo homer off Martin Schneider. It was the only run — and only hit —- that Schneider gave up in going 5 1/3 innings. He was pulled after reaching the 65-pitch limit, giving up one hit, and one run with one strikeout.

The Czech Republic tied it at 1 in the third on Eric Sogard’s single that scored Petr Zyma.

Australia padded its lead by making it 6-1 in the eighth, and again it was Hall -- this time with a triple -- that scored Ulrich Bojarski and Tim Kennelly. Glendinning’s subsequent single added another.

Marek Chlup’s two-run single in the eighth narrowed the margin to 6-3, but Australia replied with two more of its own in the ninth.

JAPAN 7, AUSTRALIA 1

TOKYO (AP) — Shohei Ohtani hit a three-run homer that landed just below his image on a video advertising board, sending Japan to a win over Australia on Sunday.

Ohtani also walked twice and finished with four RBIs. His first-inning drive traveled an estimated 448 feet.

Ohtani turned on a hanging curveball from Will Sherriff, who didn’t even watch the flight of the ball into the Tokyo Dome’s right-field seats, bending and putting hands on his knees. It was the first home run of the tournament for Ohtani, who is 6 for 12 with eight RBIs and seven walks.

Winner Yoshinobu Yamamoto struck out eight in four scoreless innings, allowing one hit and no walks. He threw 42 of 60 pitches for strikes, averaging 95.2 mph with his fastball and topping out at 96.9 mph. The 24-year-old right-hander was the Pacific League’s MVP for the Orix Buffaloes in 2021 and 2022, and pitched a no-hitter last June 22 against the Saitama Seibu Lions.

Robbie Perkins was the only Australia batter to reach against Yamamato, on a one-out single in the third. Alex Hall homered in the ninth off Hiroto Takahashi, who finished a five-hitter.

VENEZUELA 9, PUERTO RICO 6

MIAMI (AP) — Salvador Pérez homered, doubled twice, singled and had five RBIs as Venezuela improved to 2-0 in Group D on Sunday.

Venezuela struck quickly with a four-run first against Puerto Rico starter José Berrios. Pérez hit an RBI single and Anthony Santander followed with his second homer of the tournament, a three-run drive that cleared the wall in right.

Pérez made it 7-0 with a three-run shot off reliever Fernando Cruz in the second.

Venezuela starter Pablo López was the beneficiary of the early run support. López struck out six, while limiting Puerto Rico to one run and two hits in 4 2/3 innings.

Eddie Rosario homered for Puerto Rico, which is 1-1.

Down 9-1, Puerto Rico tried to rally with a four-run sixth against reliever Andres Machado.

MJ Melendez’s RBI double in the eighth got Puerto Rico within three before Silvino Bracho relieved Jhoulys Chacin and retired Javier Baez on a pop out and Rosario on a double-play grounder. Bracho then pitched a perfect ninth for the save.

CANADA 18, BRITAIN 8, 7 INNINGS

PHOENIX (AP) — Tyler O’Neill had four hits and four RBIs, Freddie Freeman added two hits and Canada beat Britain 18-8 on Sunday.

The game lasted just seven innings because the WBC has a mercy rule during group play. If one team is leading by 10 or more runs after an inning following the seventh, the game is over.

Canada scored in every inning, including five runs in the first, four in the third and six more in the fourth.

Britain took a 3-0 lead in the top of the first, but had a tough afternoon on the pitcher’s mound, giving up 17 hits and 16 walks. Harry Ford had one of Britain’s highlights with a three-run homer.

Akeel Morris took the loss, giving up five runs in just 2/3 of an inning. Phillippe Aumont got the win.

ISRAEL 3, NICARAGUA 1

MIAMI (AP) — Garrett Stubbs hit a two-run double in a three-run eighth inning, helping Israel rally for the win in its WBC opener Sunday.

Stubbs had two of Israel’s seven hits. His bases-loaded double off New York Yankees reliever Jonathan Loáisiga drove in Spencer Horwitz and Noah Mendlinger with two out in the eighth. Horwitz tied it earlier in the inning with an RBI single.

Winner Richard Bleier had two strikeouts in one relief inning.

Nicaragua took a 1-0 lead in the fifth when Steven Leyton’s double scored Sandy Bermudez. But it dropped to 0-2 in WBC group play.

ITALY 7, NETHERLANDS 1

TAICHUNG, Taiwan (AP) — Harvey pitched four innings of one-run ball for Italy, and Milwaukee Brewers prospect Sal Frelick had three hits and two RBIs Sunday.

Italian players had to wait a few minutes after the final out to find out they advanced with Cuba while the Netherlands, Taiwan and Panama were eliminated. The group was decided by runs allowed divided by outs, and Cuba (15/108, .139) finished first, followed by Italy (17/108, .157), Netherlands (19/102, .186), Panama (21/105, .200) and Taiwan (31/105, .295).

Chadwick Tromp homered in the third for the Netherlands, but Italy went ahead to stay with six runs in the fourth.

Nicky Lopez had two hits and two RBIs for the Italians, managed by Mike Piazza.

The Netherlands, needing three runs to advance, put two on with no outs in the ninth against Mitchell Stumpo. Juremi Profar struck out, Tromp popped out to the pitcher in foul territory near the plate and Ray-Patrick Didder struck out.

Dutch left fielder Jurickson Profar made a sprawling backhand catch on Dominic Fletcher’s two-out fly in the eighth, saving two runs.

Padres infielder Xander Bogaerts went 4 for 15 (.267) with one RBI for the Netherlands in the tournament. Jurickson Profar was 3 for 13 (.231) with one RBI, Didi Gregorius was 3 for 12 with three RBIs and Jonathan Schoop 1 for 13 (.077) with no RBIs.

SOUTH KOREA 7, CZECH REPUBLIC 3

TOKYO (AP) — Ha-Seong Kim of the San Diego Padres hit two solo homers for South Korea on Sunday.

Se Woong Park struck out eight in 4 2/3 innings for South Korea, which improved to 1-2 in Group B and will play winless China in its final group game.

St. Louis Cardinals infielder Tommy Edman hit a two-run single for South Korea. Kim’s homer in the sixth made it 6-0.

Matej Mensik put the Czech Republic on the board with a two-run double in the seventh. Kim hit his second homer of the game in the bottom half.

Loser Lukas Ercoli allowed six runs in 1 1/3 innings.

CUBA 7, TAIWAN 1

TAICHUNG, Taiwan (AP) — Yoán Moncada and Erisbel Arruebarrena homered, leading Cuba to the win Sunday.

Cuba broke out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning. Alfredo Despaigne drove in Moncada and Luis Robert with a double, and Arruebarrena added a two-run shot.

Moncada and Robert play for the Chicago White Sox.

Cuba starter Elian Leyva pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings, striking out four. Loser Shih-Peng Chen allowed five runs — four earned — and five hits in 1 1/3 innings.

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