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Italy rallies past Mexico in WBC opener

Phoenix, AZ (Sports Network) - The Pool D opener between Italy and Mexico certainly didn't lack drama.

Italy rallied with two runs in the top of the ninth and Jason Grilli escaped a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the inning to close out a 6-5 win over Mexico.

Sergio Romo (0-1) was tasked with protecting a 5-4 Mexico lead, but after a pinch-hitting Lorenzo Avagnina grounded out to begin the ninth, Nick Punto ripped a double and Chris Denorfia followed with a single.

Anthony Rizzo then launched a fly ball that popped out of left fielder Edgar Gonzalez's glove and was ruled a double, allowing both runners to score.

Mexico then looked to muster a comeback of its own.

Grilli gave up a leadoff single to pinch-hitter Efren Navarro and Eduardo Arredondo bunted pinch-runner Walter Ibarra to second base. After Luis Cruz drew a two-out walk, Grilli hit Adrian Gonzalez with a pitch.

Next up was Jorge Cantu, who came to the plate with the bases loaded in the first inning and cleared them with a double.

This time, however, Cantu grounded out to second to end the game.

Italy's Nick Pugliese (1-0) didn't allow a hit over 1 1/3 innings to earn the win.

Alex Liddi and Mike Costanzo each hit RBI singles off Mexico starter Rodrigo Lopez in the first inning.

Mexico moved ahead on Cantu's one-out double off Italy starter John Mariotti, and Ramiro Pena made it 4-2 with an RBI double in the second.

A two-run homer by Drew Butera pulled Italy even in the fourth, but Mexico regained the lead in the next inning on Cruz's run-scoring double.

03/07 19:36:32 ET


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