World Baseball Classic: Mexico comes back to beat Puerto Rico, advance to semifinals

March 17, 2023;  Miami, Florida, USA;  Mexico third baseman Isaac Paredes (17) hits after a home run during the third inning against Puerto Rico at LoanDepot Park.  Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
Isaac Paredes was Mexico’s hero on Friday at the World Baseball Classic. (Sam Navarro, USA TODAY Sports)

The nightmarish start didn’t stop Mexico, and they now reach the semi-finals of the World Baseball Classic for the first time since beating Puerto Rico 5-4.

The game began with four runs by Puerto Rico in the top of the first inning, including back-to-back home runs by Javier Baez and Eddie Rosario. Puerto Rico, coming to the game in a torturous manner, was superior in every way to Mexican top pitcher Julio Urias, the left-hander of the Los Angeles Dodgers who won the National League ERA title last season.

Mexico buckled in from there. Urias, Javier Asad, JoJo Romero, Jake Sanchez and Giovani Gallegos didn’t allow a run after the first inning, and Sanchez got some help from WBC breakout star Randy Arozarena in a potential off-base hit in the eighth inning.

If you’re wondering how much these players care about the WBC, Arozarena said Ken Rosenthal of Fox that he puts that catch above any home run he has hit in MLB, including the three he hit in the 2020 World Series:

“It was better than any home run I’ve ever hit in the big leagues,” he said. “It was better than the home run I hit in the World Series. This catch was the best.”

In this quarter-final, the offense came in spurts, with Mexican third baseman Isaac Paredes, who plays for the Tampa Bay Rays, putting his country on the board in the second inning with a solo home run. Alex Verdugo secured Mexico’s second run with a bases-laden single in the fifth inning, followed by a real hit in the seventh.

Paredes, who reached base four times, stood out with loaded bases and two strikeouts to tie the game. Milwaukee Brewers second baseman Luis Urias gave Mexico the lead with a single:

Mexico, who advanced to the quarter-finals top of Pool C, will now face the powerful Japan on Monday in Miami on Fox Sports 1. By winning this game, they will earn one of the USA, Venezuela or Cuba in the standings. WBC Final 2023.


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