Piazza, Grilli spark 10-0 Italy rout of Australia


KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Mike Piazza doubled and scored a run and Jason Grilli was almost perfect in 4 2/3 innings of work, leading Italy to a 10-0 victory over Australia in the first round of the World Baseball Classic on Tuesday night.

Grilli left to a standing ovation after allowing only a one-out, fourth-inning double to Trent Durrington. He also struck out seven. Riccardo De Santis finished with 2 1/3 perfect innings.

Piazza, the All-Star catcher who left the New York Mets and signed with the San Diego Padres in the offseason, was 1-for-4.

Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Frank Catalanotto was 2-for-3 with a triple and an RBI for Italy. Mark Saccomanno was 2-for-3 with a double, home run and two RBI.

Frank Menechino, now with the Cincinnati Reds after several years with the Oakland Athletics and Toronto, keyed a three-run second inning for Italy with a two-run double. That helped to chase Australia starter John Stephens, who allowed three earned runs in 1 2/3 innings.

Italy managed 12 hits off five different Australia pitchers before the 10-run mercy rule ended the game after seven innings.

The atmosphere at The Ballpark at Disney for Italy and Australia was decidedly calmer than it was for the Venezuela-Dominican Republic game that preceded it.

The Dominican Republic defeated Venezuela 11-5 in front of a raucous packed house.

In the nightcap of Pool D play, the stadium was half-filled and there were no Aussie or Italian flags being waved.