Venezuela outlasts Italy 11-10 in World Baseball Classic

AP Photo/Luis Gutierrez

Twenty-nine combined hits and 21 runs later, Team Venezuela defeated Team Italy on Saturday, 11-10.

Martin Prado led the way for Venezuela with five hits — two doubles — and three RBI. The 33-year-old Miami Marlin was responsible for the go-ahead RBI in the top of the 10th, as he laced a double to left center to drive in leadoff hitter Jose Altuve, who reached on an infield single with one out in the inning. Prado’s five-hit outing was the first ever for the World Baseball Classic.

Alcides Escobar, Carlos Gonzalez, Altuve, and Salvador Perez each recorded multi-hit games. Perez clocked a two-run bomb in the top of the ninth to break an 8-8 tie, but Italy responded in the bottom of the frame to force extras. New York Mets prospect Gavin Cecchini drove in the tying run to extend the game, but it was Venezuela which perhaps made the biggest play. Drew Butera was thrown out at home, and injured his Royals teammate, Perez, in the process.

Also injured was Francisco Rodriguez, who squandered two runs on three hits over 1.1 innings. He came back in the bottom of the 10th and closed the door 1-2-3.

Team Italy was led by catcher Francisco Cervelli, who posted a team-high three hits with a double on Saturday. The club got home runs courtesy of Brandon Nimmo and Alex Liddi as well.

Venezuela starter Martin Perez was roughed up for six hits over 3.1 innings, allowing four runs (all earned) in the process.

Italy’s Sam Gaviglio allowed two runs on five hits and two walks over 4.1 innings.

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