Venezuela got a major reprieve at the World Baseball Classic.
After thinking they had been eliminated with an 11-9 loss to Mexico early Monday in Guadalajara, Mexico, Venezuela players were informed in the locker room that they could still advance thanks to a tiebreaker.
Despite the victory, Mexico was the team eliminated. Venezuela will play Italy in a one-game tiebreaker Monday night, with the winner advancing to the second round.
Venezuela rallied for an 11-10 victory over Italy in 10 innings on Saturday.
Mexico, Italy and Venezuela all finished 1-2 in the first round of pool play behind Puerto Rico, which went 3-0. Mexico was eliminated on a tiebreaker — runs allowed per inning played.
At first, however, Venezuela players thought they were the team that had been knocked out.
The World Baseball Classic Twitter account initially announced that Monday’s tiebreaker game would be between Mexico and Italy. But officials informed Venezuela of the correct calculation in the locker room. The original tweet was deleted, and Venezuela manager Omar Vizquel said his players were surprised to hear the good news.
“I had only one thing on my mind and that was to win the game, but things did not work out right,” Vizquel said. “Afterward they let us know that we had a small difference in our favor and that we were going to play against Italy. It was a surprise, but we are happy to get another chance.”
Mexico protested the result, but the ruling that Venezuela will play in the tiebreaker was confirmed after discussions between MLB chief baseball officer Joe Torre and senior vice president of baseball operations Kim Ng.
“The issue that we have is regarding partial innings [defended]. They have one interpretation, and we have another. Even the MLB writer published that we were going to play tomorrow, because he has the same interpretation like we did,” Mexico team captain Adrian Gonzalez said.
Esteban Quiroz and Brandon Laird each hit a three-run homer for Mexico.
Quiroz’s shot capped a five-run third inning, and Laird connected in the fifth. Chris Roberson drove in two runs for Mexico.
Winning pitcher Luis Mendoza gave up three hits and two runs in four innings.
Yusmeiro Petit took the loss after giving up five runs and three hits in two innings.
Also Monday, Didi Gregorius drove in five runs Monday to lead the Netherlands over Israel 12-2 and hand the tournament debutants their first loss of the World Baseball Classic.
Gregorius doubled in a run in the third when the Netherlands scored four to take a 6-0 lead. The designated hitter then hit a three-run homer in the fourth to make it 10-0.
Wladimir Balentien, who plays in Japan, also had a big night at the plate, driving in three runs.
Israel surprised many by winning its first four games of the tournament but was overpowered by the Netherlands, which lost 8-6 in 11 innings to Japan on Sunday.
The Netherlands and Israel are both 1-1 in Pool E. The top two teams advance to the March 20-22 championship round in Los Angeles.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.