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03/09/2006 Archived Entry: "VIVA BEISBOL Extra (Mexican Pro Baseball News)"

Canadians shock USA to take Pool B leadership

SCOTTSDALE – Second baseman Jorge Cantu collected three hits (including a homer in the seventh inning) and three RBI’s to lead Mexico past South Africa 10-4 in World Baseball Classic action Wednesday night at Scottsdale Stadium in front of 7,937. The win propelled the Mexicans into a tie with the United States for second place in Pool B standings with 1-1 records, one game behind 2-0 Canada, which shocked the USA 8-6 earlier in the day behind outfielder Adam Stern’s three-run homer and late-innings circus catch at the wall in Phoenix’ Chase Field.

Although the upstart South Africans acquitted themselves well with an 11-hit outburst, this one was never seriously in doubt. The Mexicans scored twice in the first inning as Karim Garcia hit a leadoff triple and came in on Cantu’s sacrifice fly and third basemanVinny Castilla doubled and later scored. Mexico scored another run in the second and two more in the third to stake starter Francisco Campos a 5-0 lead after three frames.

Campos got the win, but had a rough fourth inning as South Africa plated three runs when center fielder Jason Cook stroked a two-run triple and was driven in on catcher Kyle Botha’s single. Campos, who struck out four batsmen but allowed four hits and walked two, was relieved by Mazatlan teammate Pablo Ortega in the fifth inning.

Ortega shut down the Springboks for two innings, getting five of six retired batters on strikeouts. In the meantime, the Mexicans scored three more times in the fifth behind Cantu’s RBI single and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez’ two-run double. Shortstop Juan Castro drove in left fielder Luis Alfonso Garcia with a single in the sixth to make it 9-3 Mexico, and Cantu closed the book on the day’s scoring with his solo homer one inning later.

Cantu and Castilla each had three hits to lead Mexico, while Gonzalez had two more. Castilla, Garcia and DH Erubiel Durazo scored two runs apiece. For South Africa, 21-year-old shortstop Brett Willemburg was 4-for-5 with a run scored as DH Patrick Naude and first sacker Nicholas Dempsey each had two-hit days. Starter Darryn Smith was rocked for six hits, three walks and five runs in 2.1 innings to take the loss.

Thursday marks the final day of Pool B play in Arizona for both Mexico and Canada. The two teams will square off at 6PM Mountain Time at Chase Park in Phoenix. South Africa will take on the USA Friday afternoon at 3PM in Scottsdale. If the Mexicans can beat Canada, they will clinch a second-round berth.

Mexico 10-13-2, South Africa 4-11-3
WP-Francisco Campos. LP-Darryn Smith.
HR-MX: Jorge Cantu. A-7,937. T-3:17.

Mexico vs. Canada
Chase Field, Phoenix, 6PM (MST).

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