Italy 6


Canada 2


6:30 PM ET, March 9, 2009

123456789 R H E
ITA 111100200 6 10 0
CAN 000200000 2 7 1
W:Serafini (1-0)
L:Perkins (0-1)
SV:Grilli (1)

Canada eliminated from WBC with loss to Italy

Associated Press

TORONTO -- Some hitting tips from Mike Piazza helped Chris Denorfia and Italy to a big win at the World Baseball Classic.

Nelson: Aumont seizes chance

Team Canada's stay at the WBC was brief, but Phillippe Aumont's effort gave them reason to hope, writes Amy K. Nelson. Story

Denorfia went 4-for-4 with three doubles, Alex Liddi drove in two runs and Italy eliminated Canada from the WBC by beating the Group C hosts 6-2 on Monday night.

"It's good for Italian baseball," Liddi said. "We showed everybody that we can play at the same level."

Denorfia, a member of the Oakland Athletics, reached base five times and scored twice. He also knocked in two runs and made a diving catch on Joey Votto's sinking liner to center field in the seventh.

Piazza, who hit 427 homers in a 16-year major league career, is coaching Italy at this tournament after playing for the country in 2006. Denorfia said Piazza "really kind of nailed home some points" during an afternoon session in the batting cage.

"I'd watch out, guys, because [Piazza] is a heck of a hitting coach," Denorfia said. "Just having him in there as a future Hall of Famer in your ear, you can't help but absorb his presence and his knowledge. He's been really great. I'm going to take the stuff I'm learning this week and take it back to the regular season."

Denorfia singled home a run in the first, doubled and scored in the third and hit an RBI double in the fourth. He also doubled and scored in the seventh, and walked in the eighth.

His four hits and three doubles matched WBC records for a game.

Piazza, who retired after the 2007 season, takes pleasure in helping to advance Italian baseball.

"They really want to make a concerted effort to get to a higher level and it's fun to be a part of that," he said.

Justin Morneau had four hits but it wasn't enough as Canada was stifled before a sparse crowd of 12,411, the smallest so far in four Group C games.

It was a quick and disappointing tournament exit for the Canadians, who featured a lineup that included major league stars Jason Bay, Russell Martin and Morneau. Canada looked tough in its first game, a 6-5 loss to a powerful United States squad in front of a lively home crowd at Rogers Centre.

"There's a lot of frustration," said Morneau, who ended the game with a grounder. "We came in expecting to take a step forward and I feel like we took a little step back."

Votto, a promising young slugger with the Cincinnati Reds, struggled to contain his emotions.

"It's very difficult," he said. "From my experience, it's the most emotional and most disappointing loss I've ever been a part of. It's really, really disappointing. I think it's going to take some time to recover from that. I've never experienced something like this before."

Italy will play Venezuela on Tuesday in an elimination game. Venezuela beat the Italians 7-0 in their opener Saturday night. Right-hander Adam Ottavino will start for Italy against righty Enrique Gonzalez.

Monday's winner was left-hander Dan Serafini, who allowed two runs and four hits in three-plus innings.

Colorado right-hander Jason Grilli worked 3 1/3 scoreless innings for the save.

Canadian right-hander Vince Perkins, who took the loss, was his own worst enemy, walking four batters in two-plus innings. Perkins allowed three runs and three hits.

"It was tough," he said. "Obviously, some nerves played into it. That's not the way I've been throwing lately. I was fighting myself a little bit to throw strikes, kind of pulling off the ball. I should have been able to do a little better than that."

Perkins' wildness helped Italy build a 4-0 lead with single runs in each of the first four innings.

Denorfia's bases-loaded infield single opened the scoring in the first, Davide Dallospedale hit an RBI single in the second, Liddi had a sacrifice fly in the third against T.J. Burton, and Denorfia doubled home Frank Catalanotto against lefty Scott Diamond in the fourth.

Canada broke through with two in the fourth against Serafini when Votto, Morneau and Bay hit consecutive doubles.

Left-hander Chris Cooper replaced Serafini and loaded the bases with walks to Matt Stairs and Nick Weglarz on either side of a strikeout of Mark Teahen. But Cooper got out of it by fanning Pete Orr and getting Chris Barnwell on a fly to center.

Morneau hit a two-out single in the fifth and Bay reached when his infield popup hit a truss hanging from the roof, but Stairs popped out to end the threat.

Canada stranded 11 and went 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

"We didn't get any big hits when we needed them," Morneau said. "We had runners out there. All we needed was that one big hit to get the momentum back on our side and we never got it."

Cooper worked 2 2/3 shutout innings, allowing just two singles. He struck out four.

"It puts Italy on the map," Cooper said. "They're fighting to show they can compete on this kind of level, this kind of stage. Tonight definitely showed that we could."

Game notes
Hockey commentator Don Cherry threw out the first pitch. ... Fans booed when WBC no-show Ryan Dempster was shown in a video montage of Canadian stars. ... Italy went 1-2 at the 2006 WBC, beating Australia 10-0 in seven innings before losing to Venezuela and the Dominican Republic.


Game Information

Game Time: 3:36
Weather: indoors
Umpires: Home Plate - Marvin Hudson, First Base - Minoru Nakamura, Second Base - Jerry Meals, Third Base - Masami Yoshikawa