Mexico beats Canada, opens door for U.S.


PHOENIX, Ariz. -- Jorge Cantu homered and drove in three
runs and Esteban Loaiza allowed a run in five-plus innings Thursday
night as Mexico defeated Canada 9-1 to leave the U.S. team a win
away from reaching the second round.

Erubiel Durazo also had three hits and Mario Valenzuela had a
solo home run for Mexico, which dropped a 2-0 decision to the U.S.
in the opening game of the World Baseball Classic on Tuesday.

If the U.S. beats South Africa on Friday, it will advance to the
second round due to a complicated three-way tiebreaker based on
runs allowed. In this odd system, the United States would've been
eliminated before it plays South Africa if Mexico had beaten Canada
by scores of 1-0, 2-0 or 2-1.

Canada starter Jeff Francis retired the first two batters in the
first inning, then drilled Vinny Castilla in the ribs with a
fastball. Consecutive doubles by Durazo, Geronimo Gil, Luis Alfonso
Garcia and Miguel Ojeda made it 4-0 as Francis struggled through
the 26-pitch inning.

Cantu made it 6-0 in the second inning with a two-run homer to
left center, scoring Luis Carlos Garcia, who had opened the inning
with a double.

Loaiza, meanwhile, faced just two batters over the minimum in
the first four innings and gave up his first hit in the fourth when
Stubby Clapp beat out a slow roller to second.