2023 World Baseball Classic results: Canada-Britain set WBC record; Mexico slips ahead of USA showdown

As of this weekend, the 2023 World Baseball Classic is in full swing. All four pools and all 20 teams are now operational. The first round consists of four pools of five teams, and each team plays every other team in their pool once. The teams with the top two records in each pool advance to the Quarterfinals in what is essentially an eight-team, single-elimination tournament. Here’s the full WBC schedule and here’s everything you need to know about this year’s event.

Here are our takeaways from USA’s win over Great Britain and here’s everything you need to know about the rest of the WBC action on Saturday and Sunday.

final results

Advance to quarterfinals


Santander and Peralta help Venezuela stun the Dominican Republic

Coming to the WBC, the Dominican Republic was hailed as perhaps the most talented team the event has ever seen, and it wasn’t long before the baseball gods reminded everyone that anything can happen in the sport. Venezuela weathered the upset Saturday. It’s her first win against the Dominican Republic in the WBC (previously 0-5).

Martín Pérez beat reigning Cy Young champion Sandy Alcantara and five Venezuelan pitchers held the top-flight Dominican lineup on a six-goal run. They knocked out 15. Anthony Santander and David Peralta were the heroes on offense. Santander hit a game-winning solo homer and Peralta drove in three runs, including the go-ahead two-run, two-strike, two-out singles against Alcantara.

Venezuela’s 7-8-9 hitters did the most damage: Santander, Eugenio Suárez and Peralta went 5 for 10 together with a double, a triple, a homer and 5 RBI. Juan Soto and Jeimer Candelario each had two of the Dominican Republic’s six goals. Astros righty Luis Garcia has done hero work from the metro for Venezuela. He struck out seven in three scoreless and unsuccessful innings.

Venezuela is 1-0 and in the driver’s seat in Pool D. Next up is Puerto Rico on Sunday night. The Dominican Republic are 0-1 and are not yet in danger of elimination, but they face a steep rise. Their next game is against Nicaragua on Monday afternoon.

Colombia upsets Mexico in extra innings

There were many upsets in the early days of the WBC, and for my money, Colombia vs. Mexico was the most entertaining game of the tournament so far. Colombia went 3-1 in the fifth inning, but Randy Arozarena equalized with a two-run homer. After Colombia took a 4-3 lead in game seven, Alex Verdugo equalized with a singles groundball.

The extra innings tiebreaker rule applies in the WBC (has always been) and Colombia scored the game-winning run at the top of 10th when shortstop Luis Urías muffed a potential inning-ending humpback liner. Right-hander Guillermo Zuñiga, currently the Cardinals minor league, overwhelmed Mexico with a fastball that touched 102 mph to end the game. He was electric.

First baseman Reynaldo Rodriguez, who plies his trade in the Mexican league, led Colombia with a double home run against Julio Urías. Later in the game he had an RBI single. Arozarena went 2 for 4 with a double and a home run and was played on purpose with two outs and the winning run on second base in the bottom of the ninth.

Colombia are 1-0 at the WBC and play Great Britain on Monday. A win would put them in a good position. Mexico is 0-1 and Their next game is a much-anticipated duel with the USA on Sunday night. A sold-out crowd is expected at Chase Field.

Canada achieves victory under the wild mercy rule

Sunday afternoon at Chase Field, Canada & UK was an impressive performance. Britain scored three runs up front in the first half, but then Canada responded with a fifth-place finish in the bottom half. It was 10-5 Canada through three innings and then the teams combined for nine runs in the fourth. Great Britain actually closed the gap to 10-8 before Canada’s fourth run of six made this race laugh.

In total, the two teams scored 26 runs with 25 goals. The 26 runs is a WBC record for a single game, and this contest only went seven innings. Believe it or not, there were only three home runs. Harry Ford’s three-barrel shot for Britain provided the three runs in the fourth that cut Canada’s lead to two. Canada’s two homers were solo shots by Edouard Julien and Owen Caissie.

The star of the game was Cardinals outfielder Tyler O’Neill for Canada. He was 4 for 4 with a double, two walks, four runs and four RBI. One of the game’s biggest hits was a double that cleared bases late in the third game to take Canada’s lead from 7-5 to 10-5.

Also for Canada, starting player Julian had the home run but also went four times, scoring three goals.

Canada moves to 1-0 while Great Britain falls to 0-2. Canada plays USA next Monday night at 10pm ET.

Cuba and Italy emerge from a five-team draw in Pool A

Pool A in Taichung, Taiwan brought us a massive five-team draw. All five teams from Pool A – Chinese Taipei, Cuba, Italy, Netherlands, Panama – went 2-2 in the pool game. Victories by Cuba and Italy early Sunday morning ensured a five-team draw. As you can imagine, the five-team tiebreaker is very complicated. Here is the tiebreaker formula:

The tied teams are ranked in the ranking by the lowest ratio of fewest runs allowed divided by the number of defensive outs recorded between the tied teams in the games of that round.

Runs Allowed divided by Defensive Outs. Understood? It’s complicated, needless to argue, but those are the rules. After the dust settled on Sunday morning, Cuba and Italy emerged from Pool A. They have the lowest quotients and have advanced to the quarterfinals. Here’s Italy noting they’ve made progress after recording Sunday’s final:

The bloody math is right here if you’re interested. Cuba and Italy advance while Chinese Taipei, Netherlands and Panama go home. They were also relegated because Chinese Taipei had the highest quotient. You must go through a qualifying tournament to earn a spot in the next WBC. Panama went through a qualifier last fall and automatically has a spot in the next WBC.

The tiebreaker formula provided late-inning drama in Sunday’s game between Italy and the Netherlands, despite a rather one-sided result. The Netherlands put the first two runners on base in the top of the ninth inning. Had they scored at least four runs in the innings, their quotient would have been lower than Italy’s and they would even have gone through to the quarterfinals with a loss.

Pool A game is complete. Italy will face a strong Japanese team in Thursday’s quarter-finals match. Cuba’s opponent in the quarterfinals is still TBD. Australia can secure a place in the quarter-finals with a win against the Czech Republic on Sunday.

Japan, Korea, Puerto Rico win blowouts

On paper, Japan, Korea and Puerto Rico were big favorites to face Australia, the Czech Republic and Nicaragua respectively and the games went as expected. The favorites won all three games relatively easily. Japan scored a perfect 4-0 in pool, beating their opponents 38-8 in four games. The one and only Shohei Ohtani hit a three-run homer on Sunday.

Nicaragua stayed solid with Puerto Rico through the fifth inning, when Puerto Rico used a save from singles to place a fiver on the board and take control of the game. Korea took a 5-0 lead in the first inning of a must-win game and maintained the lead until the end of the game. Stress-free victories for Japan, Korea and Puerto Rico on Saturday.

Puerto Rico is 1-0 and Japan are through to the quarterfinals, which begin on Wednesday. They will play against Italy. Korea are 2-1 and to progress they need to beat China on Monday while Australia lose to the Czech Republic. A three-team tie between Australia, Korea and the Czech Republic would then be sorted out similarly to the five-team tie in Pool A.

Leave a Comment