Mexico left fielder Edgar Gonzalez misplays a fly ball in the ninth inning… (Rick Giase / EPA )
Italy did not advance past the first round in the first two World Baseball Classics, but it scored an early upset this year by rallying for two runs in the ninth inning Thursday night to defeat Mexico, 6-5, in a WBC opener at Chase Field in Phoenix.
And a couple of Dodgers -- and another with a Dodger connection -- were right in the middle of the action.
Dodgers utilityman Nick Punto ignited Italy's rally with a one-out double against Mexico (and San Francisco Giants) closer Sergio Romo.
And even in the loss, Mexico (and Dodgers) first baseman Adrian Gonzalez had a big game, reaching base in all five plate appearances with two hits, a pair of walks and by getting hit with a pitch.
However, Gonzalez's older brother, Edgar, didn't fare so well. Playing left field, he got a poor jump on Punto's double, which should have been caught. Anthony Rizzo's game-winning, two-run double also should have been caught, going off Gonzalez's glove.
Mexico Manager Rick Renteria lamented afterward that both plays "would have just been typically fly-ball outs."
Edgar Gonzalez had a hit in four at-bats, but also struck out three times.
Mexico (and Dodgers) third baseman Luis Cruz was 1 for 4 with a walk hitting third, in front of Adrian Gonzalez.
Punto was 1 for 5 batting lead-off for Italy, which has former Dodgers slugger Mike Piazza as its hitting coach.
Italy plays Canada on Friday afternoon at Chase Field after which Mexico takes on the United States and National League Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey.
Josh Beckett sharp in minor league game
Dodgers' Aaron Harang is fielders' choice as mitt repairman
Some on Mexico's WBC team complain about Arizona police treatment