Italy rallies in ninth, defeats Mexico 6-5

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Thanks to some shoddy outfield defense from Edgar Gonzalez, Italy pulled off a shocker Thursday, defeating Mexico 6-5 to start Pool D play in the World Baseball Classic.

Gonzalez, normally an infielder, misplayed two balls in left in the top of the ninth, opening the door for Italy’s two-run inning against Sergio Romo.

Anthony Rizzo was credited with a two-run double on a ball that bounced out of Gonzalez’s glove, giving Italy the lead. Mexico tried to rally in the bottom of the ninth, loading the bases against Jason Grilli before Jorge Cantu grounded out to end it.

Adrian Gonzalez, Edgar’s younger brother, reached base five times, and Cantu delivered a three-run double for Mexico.

Italy jumped out to a 2-0 lead against Rodrigo Lopez in the top of the first, but it didn’t last long, as Mexico responded by loading the bases in front of Cantu’s double in the bottom of the inning. Mexico added a fourth run on a Ramiro Pena double in the second.

Italy was able to come back and tie the game in the fourth, when Twins catcher Drew Butera hit a two-run homer. Mexico, though, again responded in the fifth. Luis Cruz doubled in Eduardo Arredondo to make it 5-4. The game might have ended with that score, but Gonzalez had trouble on both a ball hit over his head by Nick Punto and Rizzo’s fly in the ninth.

Pool D play will continue Friday afternoon, when Canada takes on Italy. Mexico and the United States will have their showdown Friday night, with Yovani Gallardo and R.A. Dickey slated to start. That would now seem to be a must-win game for Mexico.

Twins will not pick up Glen Perkins’ 2018 option

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The Twins have informed reliever Glen Perkins they will not pick up his 2018 club option worth $6.5 million, MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger reports. Instead, he will be paid $700,000 per his buyout clause.

Perkins, 34, has pitched a total of 7 2/3 innings over the last two seasons due to shoulder and biceps injuries. Bollinger adds that the two could come to terms on a minor league deal, but if they can’t reach an agreement, the lefty is likely to retire.

From 2011-15, Perkins emerged as one of the better relievers in baseball, making three All-Star teams. He compiled an aggregate 2.84 ERA with 340 strikeouts and 73 walks across 313 1/3 innings.