World Baseball Classic
WBC Daily: Mexico ekes out a win, Venezuela clinches
World Baseball Classic

WBC Daily: Mexico ekes out a win, Venezuela clinches

Updated Mar. 16, 2023 6:02 p.m. ET

Stateside, World Baseball Classic pool play is nearing its end. In Asia, the quarterfinals have begun. The tournament is cruising along toward its finish next week in Florida. 

Let’s recap the five games that took place over the last 24 hours, including four pool games and the first quarterfinal. We’ll go in chronological order.

Venezuela 4, Nicaragua 1

Considering the talent gap between the two nations’ rosters, Nicaragua keeping it close at all marked a feat. Nicaragua’s top hitters were Cheslor Cuthbert and Alex Blandino, two 30-year-old former major-leaguers who are not currently affiliated with an MLB organization. 


Venezuela’s top hitters are José Altuve and Ronald Acuña Jr., annual MVP candidates. Miguel Cabrera, who you’ve surely heard of, hits fifth. But a talented Nicaragua pitching staff, including longtime major-leaguer Erasmo Ramírez and Yankee reliever Jonathan Loaisiga, kept it close.

A fifth-inning rally, capped by a two-run single from Eugenio Suárez, gave Venezuela the necessary runs to win. The result officially ended Nicaragua’s trip through the tournament, and, in tandem with another outcome Tuesday night, assured Venezuela’s arrival into the quarterfinals.

Venezuela uses a three-run fourth inning to take a 3-1 lead over Nicaragua

In the fourth inning Venezuela's Andres Gimenez singled on a line drive to right field, scoring Ronald Acuna Jr. to tie the game at 1 all. Next batter, Eugenio Suarez hit a 2 RBI single to center field to take the lead 3-1.

Canada 5, Colombia 0

Canada lost superstar Freddie Freeman to a hamstring injury, but it won the right to control its fate for the next round of play. The shutout victory, spearheaded by Phillies prospect Noah Skirrow and fellow young talents, assured Canada it will move on with one more win.

Canada’s notably prospect-laden roster helped it to an 18-8 win in its WBC opener, and now a much more controlled victory, after a blowout defeat to Team USA in between. Freeman’s readiness for upcoming games is uncertain, but Canada has flashed enough talent that beating Mexico without him on Wednesday is conceivable.

Otto Lopez SMASHES a THREE-RUN Home Run to add to Canada's lead over Colombia, 5-0

Otto Lopez smashed a three-run home run to give Canada a 5-0 lead over Colombia.

Otto Lopez, a 24-year-old Blue Jays prospect, led with a triple and a home run in Tuesday’s win. Bo Naylor, 23-year-old Cleveland Guardians catcher, and Owen Caissie, a 20-year-old Cubs outfielder, added RBI singles.

Dominican Republic 10, Israel

That didn’t take long. The Dominican Republic required only seven innings to mercy-rule defeat Israel on Tuesday night. The Dominicans scored early and often, beginning with an Eloy Jimenez RBI single in the first inning, and concluding with Jean Segura’s two-run double in the seventh. Meanwhile, four Dominican pitchers held Israel to one hit, a single and no walks. 

Saving their pitchers from a couple additional innings of work is no small feat, for the Dominican Republic will face Puerto Rico Wednesday to determine which Caribbean island will advance to the WBC quarterfinal. Many of their position players rested, too. 

General manager and reserve Nelson Cruz replaced Juan Soto late in the game. Fellow veterans Jean Segura and Robinson Canó also entered as replacements for Manny Machado and Jeimer Candelario. This offensive group has more capable players than available at-bats.

Mexico 2, Great Britain 1

This was the game of the night. Mexico held on, but only barely, in defeating a significantly less experienced Great Britain squad. Mexico starter Taijuan Walker supplied an ideal outing, traversing four innings on his abbreviated pitch count, striking out eight Brits and allowing only two baserunners. Mexico’s middle relievers made it a bit dicey, but Jesús Cruz and Giovanny Gallegos, pitching in the eighth and ninth innings, provided perfect relief to preserve the one-run lead.

Alexis Wilson delivered both key hits, two RBI singles, to notch Mexico’s runs. Wilson is a 26-year-old catcher who has not been employed by an MLB organization since 2019, and who never rose above Class-A baseball when he was affiliated. 

In this tournament, he is taking the place of Blue Jays breakout star Alejandro Kirk, who withdrew when his child’s birth delayed his arrival to spring training. But he was Mexico’s hero on Tuesday.


(x) indicates a team has advanced to quarterfinals

Pool A — Taichung, Taiwan

(x) Cuba: 2-2 

(x) Italy: 2-2

Netherlands: 2-2

Panama: 2-2

Chinese Taipei: 2-2

Pool B — Tokyo, Japan

(x) Japan: 4-0 

(x) Australia: 3-1

Korea: 2-2

Czech Republic: 1-3

China: 0-4

Pool C — Phoenix

Canada: 2-1

Mexico: 2-1 

USA: 2-1

Colombia: 1-2

Great Britain: 1-3

Pool D — Miami 

(x) Venezuela: 3-0

Dominican Republic: 2-1

Puerto Rico: 2-1

Israel: 1-2

Nicaragua: 0-4

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Pedro Moura is the national baseball writer for FOX Sports. He previously covered the Dodgers for The Athletic, the Angels and Dodgers for the Orange County Register and L.A. Times, and his alma mater, USC, for ESPN Los Angeles. He is the author of "How to Beat a Broken Game." Follow him on Twitter at @pedromoura.

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