MIAMI (AP) ― With the score tied and two outs, Puerto Rico’s Alex Rios kept running from second base.
Rios scored the go-ahead run without a play, and the Puerto Ricans rallied to oust Italy from the World Baseball Classic with a 4-3 victory Wednesday night.
The Puerto Ricans went hitless in their first 12 at-bats with runners in scoring position but still overcame a 3-0 deficit to score once in the sixth inning and three times in the eighth.
“With the lineup we had, it was a matter of time before we started scoring,” Puerto Rico manager Edwin Rodriguez said. “Everybody was putting a little pressure on themselves. The coaching staff had to take it and make it seem like we were calm.”
Rios crossed the plate standing up for the final run on a grounder to the shortstop, which Jack Santora backhanded before throwing wide to first.
That was one of four misplays by Italian shortstops, including three in the sixth by Anthony Granato, who allowed an unearned run to score and was then replaced by Santora.
Yadier Molina had three hits for the Puerto Ricans and scored their first run.
“We are only in March,” Molina said, “and you’re facing pitchers throwing 95 and 96 mph. You see it on a daily basis. I looked for my hits, and the team followed me.”