Mexico recovered from a 4-0 deficit in the first inning, scoring the next five runs to eliminate Puerto Rico 5-4 on Friday night in the World Baseball Classic quarterfinals in Miami.
Isaac Paredes of the Tampa Bay Rays went 2-for-3 with a solo homer and three RBIs to lead Mexico, which will face Japan in the semifinals on Monday in Miami. Japan advanced with a 9-3 win over Italy on Thursday in Tokyo.
Javy Baez and Eddie Rosario hit back-to-back homers with two outs in the first inning for Puerto Rico. Baez finished 3-for-4 with two RBI.
Mexico starter Julio Urias of the Los Angeles Dodgers was touched up for five hits, four runs and one walk with four strikeouts in four innings. Relievers Javier Assad (2 2/3 innings) of the Chicago Cubs, JoJo Romero (two-thirds) of the St. Louis Cardinals, Jake Sanchez (two-thirds) of the San Diego Padres’ minor league system and Giovanny Gallegos (one) of the Cardinals kept Puerto Rico off the scoreboard the rest of the night.
Puerto Rico starter Marcus Stroman of the Cubs allowed Paredes’ homer in the second inning and a total of five hits, two runs and one walk with two strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings.
Mexico added one run in the fifth and three runs in the seventh for the lead. Paredes delivered a two-run single to tie the game 4-4, and Luis Urias’ (Milwaukee Brewers) RBI single scored Alex Verdugo (Boston Red Sox) with Mexico’s fifth run.
Puerto Rico threatened in the ninth, as a leadoff single and a two-out single put runners at first at second before Gallegos struck out Enrique Hernandez (Red Sox) looking to end the game.