Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
Saturday marked the first day of 2023 World Baseball Classic play for teams in Pool C and Pool D, which includes USA, Colombia, Mexico, Venezuela, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. The day lived up to its hype with arguably the most exciting day of baseball in the tournament yet, and multiple Los Angeles Dodgers made big contributions.
Julio Urías contributed early for Team Mexico in their game against Colombia. Urías pitched four perfect innings as Mexico took an early 1-0 lead.
However, Colombia broke up the perfect game with back-to-back doubles and tied the score at 1-1. Reynaldo Rodriguez then gave them the lead with a two-run homer against the Dodgers southpaw.
Urías finished his day pitching five innings and picking up three runs while striking out six and walking none.
Randy Arozarena tied the game in the bottom half of the fifth with a two-run homer, and that score remained until the seventh when Colombia took a 4-3 lead.
After a single from Alek Thomas, Austin Barnes singled to truly begin the rally for Mexico in the bottom of the seventh, and Alex Verdugo tied the game with another base hit. Barnes’ hit increased Mexico’s win probability by 7.3% and Verdugo’s by 23.3%.
With the game tied in the ninth, Barnes hit a two-out double, but Verdugo struck out after Arozarena was intentionally walked to end the rally. Barnes finished his day going 2-for-4 as the starting catcher.
Colombia ended up pulling off the win in the 10th inning, taking a 5-4 victory in their WBC opener.
Dodgers outfielder David Peralta shines bright for Venezuela
On a stacked Venezuelan roster, it was David Peralta who starred, leading the team to an upset win over the Dominican Republic. The Dodgers outfielder went 2-for-3 with three RBI and a walk in their 5-1 victory.
Peralta’s first hit, which came in the fourth inning, broke a 1-1 tie with a bases-loaded single that drove in two. His hit increased Venezuela’s win probability by 20.8%, which marked the biggest probability swing in the game.
He came through again with an RBI double in the sixth inning to put Venezuela up 4-1 and added another 6.4% to their win probability.
Venezuela finished the game with a 5-1 win against the tournament favorites.
Mookie Betts and Trayce Thompson battle in Phoenix
Mookie Betts and Trayce Thompson faced off as USA battled Great Britain during the WBC nightcap.
Great Britain had a tall task ahead of them facing the star-studded USA lineup, but it was a first-inning homer from Thompson to open the scoring. The hit increased Great Britain’s win probability by 10.3%, but that evaporated in the third inning when USA took the lead and never looked back.
Still, Thompson doubled to lead off the third inning, but they were unable to cash in. He finished his day 2-for-4 with a run scored and RBI.
Betts struggled on the night, going 1-for-5 out of the leadoff spot for USA. His lone hit was a two-out single in the fifth inning.
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