Cantu leads Mexico past South Africa

Updated: March 9, 2006, 1:40 AM ET
Associated Press


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Jorge Cantu and Vinny Castilla each had three hits and Cantu drove in three runs to help Mexico beat South Africa 10-4 Wednesday night in the World Baseball Classic.

The victory, combined with Canada's upset of the United States earlier Wednesday, sets up a possible three-way tie in Pool B competition if Mexico defeats Canada on Thursday.

Assuming the U.S. defeats South Africa, which has lost its first two games, three teams will finish with 2-1 records. In that event, according to the second tiebreaker, the two teams that give up the fewest number of runs per game will advance to the second round in Anaheim, Calif.

Mexico rapped out 12 hits and scored in every inning except the fourth and eighth. Mexico pitchers Francisco Campos, Pablo Ortega, Edgar Gonzalez, Antonio Osuna, Roberto Ramirez and Dennys Reyes combined to strike out 15.

Mexico, shut out on four hits by the U.S. on Tuesday, opened up a 5-0 lead after three innings against South Africa starter Darryn Smith.

Karim Garcia led off the bottom of the first with a triple and scored on a sacrifice fly by Cantu. Castilla doubled and later scored on a wild pitch.

Mexico added a run in the second inning on a sacrifice fly by Karim Garcia and two more in the third on an RBI single by Adrian Gonzalez and a sac fly by Luis Garcia.

After South Africa rallied for three runs in the fourth against Campos on a two-run double by Jason Cook and a throwing error by Cantu, Mexico put it out of reach with three more runs in the fifth.

Brett Wallemburg had three hits for South Africa.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press