Canada scores four in top of ninth to avoid upset

Updated: March 8, 2006, 1:49 AM ET
Associated Press

RECAP | BOX SCORE

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Canada narrowly avoided a startling loss in its World Baseball Classic debut, rallying for four runs in the top of the ninth inning to beat South Africa 11-8 Tuesday night.

Ryan Radminovich led off the ninth with a triple to left center off losing pitcher Jared Elario and scored on a sharp double by Adam Stern. Stern came around to score when South Africa third baseman John Phillips threw Pete Orr's sacrifice attempt into right field.

The Canadians added two more runs on a wild pitch and a double by Sebastien Boucher. South African pitchers threw eight wild pitches.

Jesse Crain came on in the ninth inning for the save, striking out two.

Corey Koskie of the Milwaukee Brewers hit a two-run home run for Canada, and Jason Bay was 2-for-5 with three runs scored and Justin Morneau had an RBI double.

South Africa had taken an 8-7 lead against Canada reliever Chris Reitsma in the bottom of the eighth of the Pool B game when Paul Bell cleared the bases with a double to left field.

A three-run double by Brett Willemburg in the fourth inning helped give South Africa a 4-3 lead.

The surprising South Africans played the Canadians even for the first four innings with Carl Michaels and Barry Armitage matching Erik Bedard of the Baltimore Orioles pitch for pitch.

Bedard held the South Africans to two hits, striking out six.

The Canadians finally broke through in the fifth, using three stolen bases and Matt Stairs' two-run double to score three runs against Armitage.

But Paul Quantrill, on in relief of Bedard, couldn't hold the lead. South Africa tied the game on Willemburg's double down the left-field line and took the lead when Willemburg scored when Orr failed to handle Nick Dempsey's ground ball.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press