Mexico upset Venezuela at World Baseball Classic

Dominicans, Puerto Rico advance in World Baseball Classic

Miami (AFP) - Mexico upset Venezuela to advance to a sudden death play-off against Italy at the World Baseball Classic on Sunday, winning a nail-biting group game 11-9.

The Mexicans needed to beat the Venezuelans to have any chance of survival, and duly delivered to leave three teams in Pool D with the same record of won one, lost two.

Mexico will now play Italy on Monday to determine who advances to the next round along with group winners Puerto Rico.

Elsewhere Sunday, Welington Castillo made a game-saving out and drove in the go-ahead runs as holders the Dominican Republic advanced to the second round by beating Colombia 10-3 in 11 innings.

The unbeaten Dominicans (3-0) pounded out seven runs in the 11th inning to reach a second-round group that begins play Tuesday in San Diego.

The United States joined the Dominicans as runners-up from Group C, making sure of their berth with an 8-0 drubbing of Canada.

Castillo, a catcher for MLB's Baltimore Orioles, rescued the Dominicans after a nearly five-hour battle that nearly saw the South Americans upset the Miami bracket favorites.

Jorge Alfaro's solo home run in the eighth inning off Dominican reliever Fernando Rodney lifted Colombia into a 3-3 deadlock.

Colombia nearly won in the ninth inning after Jhonatan Solano singled and Tito Polo was hit by a pitch to put two runners on base. Pinch runner Oscar Mercado took third when Donovan Solano hit into a force out.

Reynaldo Rodriguez then flew out to Dominican left-fielder Jose Bautista, who threw perfectly to home plate and watched as Castillo grabbed the ball and tagged out Mercado at the plate before he could score the winning run.

Colombia players protested the umpire's call to no avail, with Rodriguez and Polo ejected for their in-the-face exchanges.

Classic rules give each team runners at first and second base to open the 11th inning onward and the Dominicans took full advantage.

Castillo smacked a two-run single to left field to put the Dominicans ahead for good. Jean Segura added a three-run double and scored on an error by Colombian third baseman Giovanny Urshela. Carlos Santana added a run-scoring single to complete the onslaught.

The Dominicans opened the scoring in the first inning when Segura singled, advanced on a Robinson Cano walk, stole third base and scored on a Bautista sacrifice fly.

Colombia equalized in the bottom half of the opening inning on Urshela's run-scoring single up the middle.

The defending Classic champions jumped ahead 3-1 in the third inning when Jonathan Villar singled, stole second base and scored on a double by Manny Machado, who took third on a Cano ground out and scored on a fielding error by Colombian shortstop Donovan Solano.

Colombia trimmed the deficit to 3-2 in the sixth when Mauricio Ramos hit a run-scoring double.