The Mexican National Team came thudding back to Earth at the Baseball World Cup on Sunday after taking a 9-3 loss at the hands of Japan. Mexico ran the table in Pool A play with three consecutive wins, but allowed six unanswered runs after going into the bottom of the sixth inning with a 3-3 tie in the second round opener for both teams in Parma, Italy.
Japan broke up a scoreless tie with three fourth-inning runs as Go Yamaoka triped in two runs and later came in a Ken Kume single. Mexico came back to tie the game as Cristian Presichi scored on a Carlos Velencia single in the fifth and Saul Soto (pictured) blasted a two-run homer in the top of the sixth to make it 3-3. That was it for the Mexicans, however, as Japanese relievers Hirofumi Yamanaka and Yosuke Okamoto pitched scoreless ball the rest of the way.
Japan went ahead for good with three runs in the bottom of the sixth on five hits and a throwing error by Mexico centerfielder Ivan Terrazas, then tacked on insurance runs in the eighth via a three-run homer by Keiji Okebe off Hugo Castellanos.
Yamanaka took the win for Japan, while reliever Jasiel Acosta absorbed the defeat for Mexico. Presichi and Sergio Contreras each haw two hits for the Grande Verde, but Edgar Quintero was held hitless in four trips to plate after going 5-for-5 against Australia on Saturday.
Mexico will take on host Italy Monday at Bologna in the second of seven games in the second round before facing Canada Wednesday in Torino.