Xander Bogaerts had three hits, including a double and a solo homer, as the Netherlands knocked off Panama 3-1 in the World Baseball Classic in Taichung City, Taiwan, on Thursday.
It was the second straight win for the Dutch, who opened with a 4-2 over Cuba on Wednesday. Panama was coming off a 12-5 win over Taiwan.
Those four teams plus Italy comprise Pool A of the tournament. The top two teams in each of the five groups advance to the quarterfinals, which will be played March 15-16 in Tokyo and March 17-18 in Miami. The semifinals (March 19-20) and the final (March 21) will all be held in Miami.
Bogaerts, who is beginning his first season with the San Diego Padres after 10 with the Boston Red Sox, homered in the third inning off the Los Angeles Angels’ Jaime Barria to give the Netherlands a 1-0 lead. Jurickson Profar’s solo shot in the fifth increased the lead to 2-0.
Winning pitcher Shairon Martis (1-0) allowed three hits in 3 1/3 scoreless innings. He struck out four and walked two. Barria (0-1) surrendered one run on four hits and two walks in 2 2/3 innings. He fanned one.
Australia 8, South Korea 7
Robbie Glendinning hit a go-ahead, three-run homer in the seventh inning, Robbie Perkins added a three-run shot in the eighth and Australia held on to beat South Korea in the opener of Pool B at Tokyo.
Glendinning is an infielder in the Kansas City Royals’ farm system. Perkins plays catcher for the Canberra Cavalry in Australia. Josh Guyer, a right-hander with the Sydney Blue Sox in Australia, pitched a scoreless ninth inning for the save.
Catcher Euiji Yang socked a three-run home run for South Korea.
The other teams in Pool B, which will be played entirely in Tokyo, are Japan, China and the Czech Republic.
Italy 6, Cuba 3 (10 innings)
Italy scored four runs in the top of the 10th inning to break a 2-2 tie and defeat Cuba in Pool A play in Taichung City.
Italy broke a scoreless tie with a run in the sixth and another in the seventh to take a 2-0 lead, but Cuba added single runs in the seventh and eight to tie the game.
In the 10th, Italy automatic runner Sal Frelick stole third base, then was driven home by John Valente on a single to center field. With one out, Onelki Garcia entered in relief and surrendered a double to Arizona Diamondbacks prospect Dominic Fletcher, scoring Valente. With two outs, Los Angeles Angels infielder David Fletcher was intentionally walked, and both runners advanced on a wild pitch by Garcia. A single by Kansas City Royals infielder Nicky Lopez drove in both runners.
Luis Robert of the Chicago White Sox singled to drive in the run for Cuba in the bottom half of the inning, but the Cubans couldn’t get any closer.
Cuba starter Roenis Elias, a Seattle Mariners reliever, started and gave up two hits over the first five innings. Former major leaguer Matt Harvey threw the first three innings for Italy. Neither figured in the decision.
The Mariners’ Matt Festa got the win for Italy, while Raidel Martinez took the loss for Cuba.
–Field Level Media