GUADALAJARA, Mexico (AP) — Venezuela got a major reprieve at the World Baseball Classic.
After thinking they had been eliminated with an 11-9 loss to Mexico early Monday, Venezuela players were informed in the locker room that they could still advance thanks to a tiebreaker.
Despite the victory, Mexico was the team eliminated. Venezuela will play Italy in a one-game tiebreaker Monday night, with the winner advancing to the second round.
Venezuela rallied for an 11-10 victory over Italy in 10 innings on Saturday.
Mexico, Italy and Venezuela all finished 1-2 in the first round of pool play behind Puerto Rico, which went 3-0. Mexico was eliminated on a tiebreaker — runs allowed per inning played.
At first, however, Venezuela players thought they were the team that had been knocked out.
The World Baseball Classic Twitter account initially announced that Monday's tiebreaker game would be between Mexico and Italy. But then officials informed Venezuela of the correct calculation in the locker room. The original tweet was deleted, and Venezuela manager Omar Vizquel said his players were surprised to hear the good news.
Venezuela's team includes a string of major league stars, including Miguel Cabrera, Jose Altuve and Felix Hernandez.
"I had only one thing on my mind and that was to win the game, but things did not work out right," Vizquel said. "Afterward they let us know that we had a small difference in our favor and that we were going to play against Italy. It was a surprise but we are happy to get another chance."
Mexico will protest the result hoping to change the outcome.
"The issue that we have is regarding partial innings (defended). They have one interpretation and we have another. Even the MLB writer published that we were going to play tomorrow, because he has the same interpretation like we did," Mexico team captain Adrian Gonzalez said. "Now they are giving us the chance to file a protest and they (MLB) will give us an answer tomorrow."
Esteban Quiroz and Brandon Laird each hit a three-run homer for Mexico.
Quiroz's shot capped a five-run third inning, and Laird connected in the fifth. Chris Roberson drove in two runs for Mexico, which lost its first two games.
Winning pitcher Luis Mendoza gave up three hits and two runs in four innings.
Yusmeiro Petit took the loss after giving up five runs and three hits in two innings.