The second meeting between Italy and Venezuela Tuesday night at the Rogers Centre looked very similar to their meeting Saturday night as the South American team shook off a slow start and defeated Italy 10-1 while also clinching a spot in the second round of the World Baseball Classic.
Once again the Italian starting pitcher – this time Adam Ottavino had the honors – worked three scoreless innings allowing only one hit and retiring the last seven batters he faced. But, as soon as Ottavino came out of the game in the fourth, the Italian bullpen unraveled and the Venezuelan club attacked, much like Saturday night.
The game turned into a rout in the fifth inning for Venezuela, adding five runs to their lead, hitting four home runs on a set of back-to-back shots. Bobby Abreu and Carbera lead off the inning with home runs giving the team a six run lead. Later in the inning Jose Lopez and Ramon Hernandez also hit monster back-to-back shots, giving the Venezuelan club an insurmountable 9-0 lead. The four home runs in one inning set a new WBC record.
The Detroit connection got the party started off of reliever Tiago Da Silva (0-1) in the bottom of the fourth. Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera and Magglio Ordonez reached base on back-to-back hits and their Tigers teammate Jose Guillen drove them in with a one out double.
Venezuela posted two more runs in the frame thanks to a fielding error by shortstop Nick Punto, handing the Venezuelans a 4-0 lead heading into the fifth.
The Italian bats could not get anything going all night, failing to put a runner on base in four of the nine innings they batted, while recording six hits compared with 14 by Venezuela.
Starting pitcher Enrique Gonzalez (2-0) threw four innings of shut out ball for Venezuela, surrendering only two hits and striking out three. Ramon Ramirez came on in relieve to throw three innings, giving up the lone run of the game while surrendering only two hits.
Though Italy suffered their second loss of the tournament therefore eliminating them from competition, their run to the Pool C semi-final will be considered a success, due to their upset over Canada Monday night.
Venezuela, now assured a spot in the second round of the WBC, will face the Unites States in the Pool C final Wednesday night, with a shot at revenge. The USA embarrassed the Venezuelans Sunday night to the tune of a 15-6 beat down it what was expected to be a competitive game.
The winner of tomorrow night’s game between Venezuela and the USA will determine seeding for round two beginning in Miami on Saturday. The winner will play the runner-up from Pool D, while the loser will play the Pool D winner.
Game Notes: The attendance was the smallest to date in Pool C, only 10,450 people were on hand…Melvin Mora was the only starter for Venezuela to not record a hit…Miguel Cabrera was a triple short of the cycle…Venezuela retired nine Italian batters in a row between the second and fifth innings…Italy used eight pitchers in the game.