GUADALAJARA, MEXICO – Noah Perio scored the go-ahead run on a passed ball by the New York Yankees’ Erik Kratz in the fifth inning, Ali Solis added a three-run homer in the eighth and host Mexico beat the United States 8-2 on Sunday night at Guadalajara in a qualifier for next year’s Olympic baseball tournament.
Mexico is assured of finishing among the top two teams in Group A of the Premier12 tournament, who will advance to a super round in Japan. The U.S. needs a victory Monday over the Dominican Republic to advance.
The top finisher from the Americas qualifies for next year’s Olympic baseball tournament in Japan. Second- and third-place finishers from the Americas go to a final qualifying tournament in March or April.
The U.S., managed by former big leaguer Scott Brosius, opened Saturday with a 9-0 win over the Netherlands, and Mexico with a 6-1 victory over the Dominican Republic in a game shortened to six innings because of rain. The Dominicans beat the Dutch 14-4 in Sunday’s earlier game.
Mexico closes Group A against the Dutch on Tuesday.
With the score 2-2 in the fifth, Perio and Javier Salazar singled off Boston prospect Tanner Houck, and Kansas City’s Daniel Tillo’s relieved with one out and runners at the corners. Juan Perez struck out and Perio came home on the first pitch to Esteban Quiroz.
Efren Navarro, who played four games for the 2018 Chicago Cubs, hit a two-run single off Atlanta’s Caleb Thielbar for a 5-2 lead in the eighth. Solis, who played four games with San Diego in 2012 and eight for Tampa in 2014, followed with a home run.
Felipe Gonzalez got the win with 1⅓ innings of two-hit relief, and Jesus Cruz, Brennan Bernardino and Carlos Bustamante combined for 4⅓ innings of one-hit relief. Houck was the loser.
Christian Villanueva, who left the Padres for the Japanese Central League’s Yomirui Giants after the 2018 season, hit a two-run single in the first. The U.S. tied the score on home runs by Kratz in the third and Boston’s Bobby Dalbec in the fourth, both off starter Horacio Ramirez, who last played in the major leagues for the Los Angeles Angels in 2011.
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5