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Mexico defeats Venezuela 11-9, still eliminated from World Baseball Classic

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Team Mexico narrowly missed out on forcing a tiebreaker game to earn the right to advance to the next round of the World Baseball Classic. Despite defeating Team Venezuela on Sunday night 11-9, it has been eliminated. That was determined by average runs allowed per defensive inning. Mexico (1.12) trailed Venezuela (1.11). As a result, Venezuela and Italy will play a tiebreaker on Monday.

Mexico jumped out to a 5-0 lead against Venezuela in the second inning on an RBI double by Japhet Amador, a sacrifice fly by Luis Alfonso Cruz, and a three-run home run by Esteban Quiroz. Venezuela struck for a run in the bottom of the third on a Martin Prado single, but Brandon Laird extended Mexico’s lead to 8-1 in the fifth with a three-run homer of his own.

From there, it was a back-and-forth affair. Venezuela rallied for three runs in the bottom half of the fifth on an Ender Inciarte double, a Prado double, and a Miguel Cabrera single, reducing Venezuela’s deficit to 8-4. Adrian Gonzalez lifted a sacrifice fly in the top of the sixth to make it 9-4, but Venzuela struck for two in the bottom half thanks to RBI singles from Robinson Chirinos and Jose Altuve. Mexico’s Chris Roberson hit an RBI single to push it to 11-6, and Venezuela responded with three more runs in the bottom half of the seventh on a Victor Martinez two-run home run and a forced-in run when Chirinos was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.

Pitchers Oliver Perez and Roberto Osuna were able to get four and two outs, respectively, to hold Venezuela at bay and end the game in an 11-9 victory for Mexico.

Mexico’s first baseman, Adrian Gonzalez, isn’t happy with the results.

As mentioned, Italy and Venezuela will match up on Monday in a tiebreaker game. The winner will join Puerto Rico from Pool D and advance to the next round, Pool F, where their other opponents include the Dominican Republic and the United States. The winner of Monday’s tiebreaker will play the U.S. on Wednesday at Petco Park in San Diego.

Jose Reyes is hitless in 20 plate appearances to start the season

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Mets backup infielder Jose Reyes pinch-hit and popped up in the top of the eighth inning of Thursday night’s game in Atlanta against the Braves. That ran his streak up to 20 consecutive hitless plate appearances to start the 2018 season. He has reached base once, however, on a walk, so there’s that.

Reyes, 34, signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Mets near the end of January. At the time, the Mets hadn’t yet signed Todd Frazier, so Reyes was in the mix to contribute as a utilityman but he has operated as a bat off the bench for the most part this season.

One wonders how much longer the Mets are going to let Reyes flounder. According to FanGraphs, he has already been worth a half-win less than a replacement-level player. Only eight other players have been as bad or worse this season.