Saturday, September 19, 2009


This one hurt. Really hurt.

One wild pitch undid a superb pitching effort by Oscar Rivera (pictured) and Arturo Lopez as Mexico lost a 1-0 Baseball World Cup game to Taiwan in ten innings Friday at Verona, Italy. The defeat left the Mexicans with a 2-3 record in second round pool play, while Taiwan moved to 4-1.

The game was a pitcher’s battle all the way, as the two teams combined for just eight hits over ten frames. Taiwan starter Yen-Feng Lin was especially sharp, allowing just three hits over nine innings. Rivera matched zeroes with Lin for 6.1 innings, letting up just four Taiwan singles with one walk while striking out 11 matters. Lopez came on with one out in the seventh and allowed one single and no runs in 2.2 innings.

Lopez was pulled with one out in the bottom of the tenth with the bases loaded, although the online account on the BWC website was muddled as to how that happened. Hector Navarro, who has pitched effectively in relief in Europe, was brought in from the bullpen to face Kuo-Min Lin. Navarro’s first pitch was wild, however, bringing in pinch-runner Chia-Hao Chang with the game-ending run. Chang was the first Taiwanese runner to get past second base the entire game.

Navarro can’t be held solely responsible for Mexico’s bitterly disappointing loss because the Verde Grande had no less than four opportunities to score despite gathering only three hits for the contest.

Edgar Quintero sliced a one-out double to left field in the fifth and advanced to third on Carlos Valencia’s 5-3 groundout, but Ivan Terrazas dinked a tapper to the first baseman, who tossed the ball to pitcher Lin (one of seven players with that surname on the field for Taiwan) for the third and final out.

Then, in the seventh, Cristian Presichi opened the inning with a double. Presichi stayed on second when Jesus Cota flew out to left, but advanced to third when Saul Soto fouled out to right. Quintero then struck out on five pitches to end the threat.

In the ninth, Eduardo Arredondo led off with a walk, then advanced to second on an Oscar Robles groundout. Presichi walked to give Mexico two baserunners with one out. However, Cota lined out to left for the second out as both runners held, and Soto bounced into a 4-6 fielder’s choice as Presichi was cut down at second.

Finally, facing reliever Yu-Ching Lin, the Mexicans gave it one last shot in the top of the tenth. With two out and the bases loaded, Cota went down swinging on four pitches to end the rally with Terrazas standing ninety feet away from paydirt at third.

Mexico will face the 4-0 United States on Saturday in Vicenzo, Italy.

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