Mexico come back to beat Puerto Rico and advance to the semifinals

March 17, 2023;  Miami, Florida, USA;  Mexican third baseman Isaac Paredes (17) scores after hitting a home run during the third inning against Puerto Rico at LoanDepot Park.  Mandatory credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Isaac Paredes was Mexico’s hero during the World Baseball Classic on Friday. (Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports)

A nightmare start didn’t stop Mexico, and now it’s on its way to the semifinals of the World Baseball Classic for the first time after beating Puerto Rico 5-4 on Friday.

The game began with four runs for Puerto Rico in the top of the first inning, including back-to-back home runs by Javier Baez and Eddie Rosario. Getting into the game in excruciating fashion, Puerto Rico was all Mexican pitcher Julio Urias, the Los Angeles Dodgers southpaw who won the National League ERA title last season.

Mexico settled down from there. Urias, Javier Assad, JoJo Romero, Jake Sanchez and Giovany Gallegos did not allow a run after the first inning, with Sanchez getting some help from WBC breakout star Randy Arozarena on an extra-base hit in the eighth inning.

In case you’re wondering how much these players care about the WBC, Arozarena said Fox’s Ken Rosenthal that he puts that catch above every home run he’s hit in MLB, including the three he hit in the 2020 World Series:

“That was better than any home run I’ve ever hit in the major leagues,” he said. “That was better than the home run I hit in the World Series. That catch was the best.”

The offense came in waves in this quarterfinal, with Mexico third baseman Isaac Paredes, who plays for the Tampa Bay Rays, putting his country on the board in the second inning with a solo home run. Alex Verdugo accounted for Mexico’s second run with a basesloaded single in the fifth inning, which was followed by the real loss in the seventh.

Paredes, who reached base four times, singled with the bases loaded and two outs to tie the score. Milwaukee Brewers second baseman Luis Urias followed with a single to give Mexico the lead:

Mexico, which reached the quarterfinals with a first place in Pool C, will now face superpower Japan on Fox Sports 1 in Miami on Monday. last.

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