Garcia combines to two-hit Italy in Venezuela win

Updated: March 8, 2006, 10:25 PM ET
Associated Press

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Miguel Cabrera homered for the second straight game and drove in two runs as Venezuela rebounded from a loss in its World Baseball Classic opener with a 6-0 victory over Italy on Wednesday night.

Freddy Garcia struck out seven and allowed one hit in 3 1/3 innings for Venezuela, which improved to 1-1 in Pool D play and dropped Italy to 1-1. The Dominican Republic (1-0) was idle Wednesday and remained the only unbeaten team in Pool D.

In front of a raucous, partisan Venezuelan crowd, Garcia and three other pitchers combined on a two-hitter and struck out 11. Carlos Silva gave up a hit in 3 2/3 innings, and Rafael Betancourt and Francisco Rodriguez each pitched a hitless inning for Venezuela.

Italy's Mike Piazza struck out three times and briefly argued a call at first base after grounding out in the ninth inning.

Garcia cruised through the first seven batters but had to pitch out of a jam in the top of the third. A walk, a throwing error by Ramon Hernandez and a single by Tony Giarratano loaded the bases for Italy, but the White Sox pitcher struck out Frank Menechino and Frank Catalanotto to squelch the rally.

Venezuela jumped to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Bobby Abreu singled, stole second and scored on Cabrera's single.

Abreu added to Venezuela's lead with a run-scoring single in the bottom of the third. Italy avoided further damage when reliever Phil Barzilla got Victor Martinez to ground out to second with runners on first and second.

Venezuela added a run in the fourth, one in the fifth and two more in the sixth.

Martinez and Ramon Hernandez had two hits each for Venezuela.

Left-hander Lenny DiNardo started for Italy and allowed two earned runs and four hits in 2 2/3 innings.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press