Tokyo/San Juan/Phoenix. The 2013 World Baseball Classic continued with five games on Saturday. It all started at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan, where Cuba crushed Chinese Taipei behind four home runs to stay alive. Chinese Taipei has been eliminated.

Meanwhile the first round continued in Pools C and D. In San Juan, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic each earned their second wins on Saturday, advancing to the second round. Venezuela and Spain remained winless and will go home after Sunday’s first-round conclusion.

In Phoenix the fans at Chase Field saw two intense games. In the afternoon Canada beat Mexico for their first win in a very heated game. Mexico will go home with a 1-2 record. In the evening Team USA came back against Italy to stay alive. Italy still advances to the second round. Canada and the US will battle for the last open second-round spot on Sunday.

Second Round:

Cuba 14 – Chinese Taipei 0

Cuba remains in contention at the 2013 World Baseball Classic after a 14-0 blowout against Chinese Taipei. The game was highlighted by an eight-run sixth and four Cuban home runs by Frederich Cepeda, Yasmany Tomas, Jose Abreu and Alfredo Despaigne. Chinese Taipei, which had won Pool B in Taichung, has been eliminated after its second loss in the double elimination round.

First Round:

Mexico 3 – Canada 10

Canada scored four runs in the first and six runs in the last four frames en route to a 10-3 win over Mexico. It was their first victory at the 2013 World Baseball Classic, which keeps them in contention for the second round. Mexico got eliminated with a 1-2 record. Justin Morneau and Michael Saunders led the way on Saturday afternoon at Chase Field. The number four and five of the Maple Leafs batting order combined for eight hits and six RBI in a heated affair.

Italy 2 – USA 6

Italy lost 2-6 to Team USA in the evening game at Chase Field in Phoenix on Saturday, but still advances as second European team besides the Netherlands into the second round of the 2013 World Baseball Classic. The United States overcame an early 0-2 deficit and won thanks to a grand slam by David Wright in the top of the fifth. It was the first win of the US, which can claim first place in Pool D with a win over Canada on Sunday.

Spain 3 – Dominican Republic 6

The Dominican Republic has a much better World Baseball Classic as four years ago. The team of manager Tony Pena defeated Spain 6-3 on Saturday afternoon at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico. It has been their second win in as many games in Pool C of the first round at the 2013 WBC. It was the second loss for Spain. Nelson Cruz and Carlos Santana combined for four RBI.

Venezuela 3 – Puerto Rico 6

One of the big favorites considered to win the 2013 World Baseball Classic will have to go home after the first round. Venezuela also lost its second game in Pool C on Saturday evening. Puerto Rico prevailed in a close contest by a score of 6-3. It was the second win in as many games for the host of the first-round group at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan. Mike Aviles drove in three of the six runs for Puerto Rico.

Standings

Pool C:
1) Puerto Rico 2-0
1) Dominican Republic 2-0
3) Spain 0-2
3) Venezuela 0-2

Pool D:
1) Italy 2-1
2) USA 1-1
2) Canada 1-1
4) Mexico 1-2

Outlook

The 2013 World Baseball Classic continues on Sunday. It all starts at the Tokyo Dome, where the Netherlands and Japan already will determine the first semifinalist with a guaranteed ticket towards San Francisco. The loser of the matchup will have to face Cuba on Monday during the double elimination phase.

In San Juan and Phoenix the first round will get closed out. Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic will square off to play for first place in Pool C. Spain and Venezuela try to leave the tournament with their first win. In Pool D Canada and Team USA will battle for the last second round spot in Miami. Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Italy are already qualified for the next stage at the Marlins Park.

Schedule

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Second Round:
19:00 Netherlands – Japan (Tokyo Dome in Tokyo)

First Round:
12:30 Venezuela – Spain (Pool C, Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan)
13:00 Canada – USA (Pool D, Chase Field in Phoenix)
19:30 Puerto Rico – Dominican Republic (Pool C, Hiram Birthorn Stadium in San Juan)

(all times local)

The 2013 World Baseball Classic is officially sanctioned by the International Baseball Federation (IBAF). The winner will be named IBAF World Champion for the first time. The final round will be played at AT&T Park in San Francisco, California from March 17 to 19. More information including highlights can be found at www.worldbaseballclassic.com

Photo: © World Baseball Classic, Inc.