Venezuela qualifies for second round of WBC

GUADALAJARA, Mexico (AP) " Miguel Cabrera hit a solo homer and Rougned Odor had a long RBI single during a three-run ninth inning, and Venezuela rallied to beat Italy 4-3 on Monday night to qualify for the second round of the World Baseball Classic.

Cabrera blasted a shot over center field to tie it at 2 and then Odor smacked his single to put Venezuela ahead. Odor later scored on a sacrifice bunt by Alcides Escobar.

Venezuela will face the United States on Wednesday in San Diego.

The Venezuelans lost to Mexico on Sunday, but the host team was eliminated on a tiebreaker " runs allowed per inning played " in a decision announced hours after the game. There was confusion over how to compute the tiebreaker to account for Italy's five-run, game-ending ninth inning against Mexico, in which no outs were recorded.

The WBC had originally announced that Monday's tiebreaker game would feature Mexico and Italy, but then officials issued a correction.

"We qualified here basically because of an out that they did not get (against Italy)," Venezuelan manager Omar Vizquel said. "I remember when I was a player, and before a Game 7 of the World Series was very stressful, and I haven't felt like that until last night.

We were in limbo until we got word that we were going to play, and tonight we were shut down for six innings, but we kept on fighting and we came with a win. I'm really proud of my team. Now, moving forward, I don't want to say too much, I just want a good night's sleep."

The Venezuelans advanced despite allowing 35 runs in the first round, the third highest mark in the history of the tournament. South Africa and China allowed 38 each in 2006.

"The pitching has not been up to the challenge so far, we have been punished badly, but the team made it to the second round," Vizquel said. "Sometimes it*s not easy to get where you want to go, sometimes destiny makes it difficult and that happened to us, hopefully we can use that to play a better baseball."

Venezuela joined Puerto Rico as the two teams that moved on from Group D.

Italy got a solo homer from Alex Liddi in the bottom of the ninth, but Francisco Rodriguez then got three ground outs for the save. Italy finished 1-3 in the tournament.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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