* It took three tries before Arnold Leon hit Rene Tosoni and then --- the dugouts emptied and punches were thrown. .... ELSEWHERE .... HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA -- Walker speaks, Cherry listens .... BOB NIGHTENGALE -- Canada, Mexico brawl .... BARRY BLOOM -- Benches clear in Canada win .... DANNY KNOBLER -- WBC comes alive .... TYLER KEPNER -- Global showcase is a brawl and and a blowout .... BOB BAUM -- Does WBC stand for World Boxing Commission .... HAYDEN KANE -- Walker in the midst of brawls .... DOUG HARRISON -- Five questions with Leroux .... DANNY KNOBLER -- How Canada beating Mexio helps USA .... JIM CAPLE -- Rare double walk-off win .... TYLER HARPER -- Italy shows no mercy .... CHRIS MELITO -- Never under estimate the Italians
By Bob Elliott
PHOENIX, Az. _ Rene Tosoni saw things unfold before him.
With Canada up six runs in the ninth on the way to a 10-3 win over Mexico Saturday at Chase Field, Tosoni headed to the plate after lead-off hitter Chris Robinson beat out a bunt.
“I saw the third baseman (Luis Cruz) give the ball to pitcher (Arnold Leon) but before he did, he tapped the ball his own ribs,” said Tosoni.
Translation in the universal language: hit him here.
“He missed his first two attempts, then I stood almost on the plate,” said Tosoni, plunked in the ribs. “I asked him to hit me. Hey we get another runner on base.”
And then Team Canada and Mexico cleared the benches like the 1991 Cuba Pan-Am Games in Havana, Cuba. Someone attempted to break up a double play, words were exchanged. The next half inning a Mexico hitter stepped in and began jawing with catcher Alex Andreopoulos and all hell broke lose.
The Canadian team was pelted with baseballs and coach John Upham was carried off on a stretcher.
The win sets up a winner take all game Sunday afternoon as Jameson Taillon starts against Team USA lefty Derek Holland.
The basebrawl Saturday was the most violent we’ve seen since George Bell charged Bruce Kison at Exhibition Stadium.
Lefty Jay Johnson landed a New Brunswick haymaker on Eduardo Arredondo, who had been hitting Philadelphia Phillies teammate Tyson Gillies.
“I’m not allowed to talk,” said Johnson, escorted by a security guard to the Canada bus,
Peter Orr, Johnson and Tosoni were ejected by plate ump Brian Gorman.
“They got me for instigating,” said Orr.
Oliver Perez, Alfredo Aceves, Leon and Arredondo were ejected from Mexico.
“They lost last night, they had to play to win and worry about scoring enough runs to win a tie breaker,” Perez said.
In pre-tournament meetings teams were told to expect countries to steal up by nine runs or take an extra base seeing things you’d likely would not see on July 15.
Mexico manager Rick Renteria said he talked with his players and explained teams would try to score as many runs as possible.
“Playing pro ball, situations like this arise,” Renteria said. “I don’t believe (Leon) was trying to hurt anybody. It happened. He felt that it was the right thing to do because of the bunt in the heat of the battle.
“Everybody knows the rules, we did talk about it. Maybe I should have explained it better.”
WBC officials will study film to see if suspensions are handed out.
“I was pushing guys away,” said coach Stubby Clapp. “How about is Aceves? He grabs onto Walker, I said OK ... that’s taken care of.”
Objects were thrown at the Canadian dugout this night. Pitching coach Denis Boucher was hit in the forehead with a water bottle.
“I thought I was going to have to go up into the seats like in Slapshot,” said Boucher. “The guy in the fourth row said the guy in the second row threw it. The guy in the second row said it was someone else.”
Boucher’s wife Isabelle sent a text: “Saw on TV, how are the boys?”
“Didn’t even ask how I was,” said Boucher, whose sons Corey and Louic-Antonine are Canadian bat boys.
Manager Ernie Whitt threatened to take his team off the field after the Canadian dugout was pelted with debris.
Robinson said he didn’t mean any disrespect ... he was trying to get on base.
“In 2006 we were eliminated on run differential,” said Robinson of the Canadian team which went 2-1, the only 2-1 team in the first round not to advance until Korea this year.
Lost in the mess were outstanding outings by right-hander Chris Leroux, who retired the first two men of the third and struck out Luis Cruz, but the ball got away from Robinson and went to the screen. After walking the dangerous Adrian Gonzalez, Leroux was at 63 pitches, two away from his limit.
Whitt headed to the mound and Leroux said “I’m not coming out of this game.”
Whitt said “no, but you’re going to get this hitter.”
Leroux retired Jorge Cantu on a ground ball, working three innings for the win allowing one unearned run.
Canada was up 4-0 after 25 pitches Milwaukee Brewers right-hander Marco Estrada. Justin Morneau singled, Mike Saunders hit a two-run single, stole second on the first pitch and scored on a Robinson single.
Morneau and Saunders each had four hits and three RBIs apiece.
Trystan Magnuson threw two scoreless and John Axford worked a scoreless ninth including buzzing one hitter.
“Emotions run high when you play for your country,” said Walker.
He then held up a green Mexican cap and said “I’ve got my cap to wear out tonight.”
Walker was asked by a Mexican reporter if the Canadian manager had ordered his team to leave the dugout and fight?
“No, the pitcher from Mexico hit our guy and that started the fight,” said Walker. “Hey it’s Saturday night, we’re trying to get on Hockey Night in Canada.
“Don Cherry can’t wait to air those highlights.”