WBSC roundup: Jimenez, Venezuela top US
Team USA ran into a Venezuelan buzzsaw at the WBSC Premier12 tournament in Chinese Taipei. The USA team, which had won its opener against the Dominican Republic, fell victim to a five-RBI game from veteran first baseman Luis Jimenez in Venezuela's 7-5 victory on Wednesday.
The 33-year-old Jimenez, who played in 30 games with the Seattle Mariners in 2012, hit a game-tying two-run home run in the fourth inning and delivered a two-run double to help Venezuela push ahead in the fifth. Venezuela added two final runs in a seventh-inning rally.
Team USA took an early lead in the first inning, but the game was interrupted by a two-hour rain delay. Brett Eibner, a prospect in the Royals' organization, drove in a run in the first inning and rifled a two-run double in the bottom of the fifth. Jacob May added a late home run for Team USA.
Starting pitcher Anthony Vasquez only worked one inning for the U.S. team due to the rain delay, and reliever Seth Simmons took over in the second. Simmons worked three innings and allowed two runs, and John Church gave up the key three-run rally to Venezuela in the fifth inning.
Team USA will resume its tournament by squaring off against Mexico on Thursday morning. The game will be played at 6 p.m. local time in Taiwan (5 a.m. ET) and live-streamed via WBSC.
Japan 6, Mexico 5
Japanese ace Kenta Maeda started this game, but the action was especially notable down the stretch. Team Mexico managed to put together a game-tying rally in the top of the ninth inning, but first baseman Sho Nakata had one of his five RBIs in the bottom half to help Japan to a stunning 6-5 win.
Nakata drilled a two-run homer in the second inning, and he pushed another run home on a sacrifice fly in the third. The 26-year-old added RBI singles in the fifth inning and again in the ninth. Enrique Garcia started for Mexico and was knocked out in the third inning, and Alexander Caldera took the loss.
Maeda, who may be available via the posting process to Major League teams this winter, pitched five innings and allowed two earned runs against Mexico. Maeda struck out seven batters and walked one. The 27-year-old has a career 97-67 record and a 2.39 ERA for Hiroshima in the Japanese Central League.
Cuba 6, Netherlands 5
Catcher Yosvani Alarcon singled in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning, and Cuba held on for a 6-5 victory over the Netherlands. Shawn Zarraga, a catching prospect in the Dodgers' organization, drilled a two-run homer for the Netherlands in the fourth inning.
Jair Jurrjens started for the Netherlands and allowed five earned runs in six innings. Cuba had four players with at least two hits, and reliever Jose A. Garcia threw four scoreless innings for the win.
Korea 10, Dominican Republic 1
The Dominican Republic got six shutout innings from Luis Perez on Wednesday, but South Korea responded with 10 runs in the game's final three innings. Three players had at least three RBIs for the Korean team in the late scoring rally, and Chang Won-Jun worked seven innings for the victory.
The Dominican Republic was held to four hits in the loss. Veteran third baseman Pedro Feliz, who last played in the Major Leagues in 2010, had two hits and drove in the Dominican Republic's only run.
Chinese Taipei 7, Italy 1
Chun-Lin Kuo, who pitches for Seibu in Japan's Pacific League, delivered a gem for the home team, working seven innings and striking out 10 batters in a 7-1 win over Italy. Luca Panerati, a former prospect in Cincinnati's organization, gave up four runs and took the loss for Italy.