Canada, Mexico in fierce WBC brawl

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Canada, Mexico in fierce WBC brawl

PHOENIX, Arizona - A little bunt single turned this WBC matchup into a World Boxing Classic.

Alfredo Aceves and several players threw nasty punches when a fierce, full-scale brawl broke out in the ninth inning Saturday of Canada’s 10-3 romp over Mexico in the World Baseball Classic, a melee that also involved fans and set off skirmishes in the seats.

“Whoever says that we’re just here as an extra spring training game or we’re just here to say we represented our country and then go home obviously didn’t see how intense that game was and what it means to everybody that was involved,” Canadian slugger Justin Morneau said.

Multiple fights erupted after Canada’s Rene Tosoni was hit in the back by a Arnold Leon pitch with the score 9-3 at Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Things quickly turned as chaotic as anything on a Major League field in recent years.

Even when the fisticuffs ended, Canadian pitching coach Denis Boucher was hit in the face by a full water bottle thrown from the crowd. Canada shortstop Cale Iorg angrily threw the bottle back into the crowd.

Several police officers came onto the field trying to restore order, and there were a few skirmishes in the decidedly pro-Mexico crowd of 19,581. Seven players were ejected after umpires huddled, trying to sort out the frenzy.

Canadian first base coach Larry Walker, a former National League MVP, said he held back Mexico star Adrian Gonzalez during the altercation. The solidly built Walker also tried to restrain Aceves. “I had a hold of him and I thought I saw Satan in his eyes,” Walker said.

Morneau, Gonzalez and Joey Votto were among the big-name, high-priced stars playing in the game. The fight was exactly the kind of thing that must have made major league managers and general managers cringe at the thought of one of their players getting hurt in such a fracas.

“There’s a point you got to stand up for yourself,” said Morneau, a former MVP with the Minnesota Twins. “We got hit for playing the game, and that happens, but at the same time you got to stand up for yourself. You can’t just get pushed around.”

“Obviously everyone wishes it didn’t happen, but it happens in the game sometimes,” he said. “ I think we have all learned from being in the minor leagues that, especially in low-A ball, high-A ball, those things get real crazy. There’s not as much security. It starts to get out of control pretty bad, and I think you learn from that, you learn to keep your head on a swivel.”

In another Saturday match, Carlos Santana homered, Robinson Cano had three hits and the Dominican Republic beat Spain 6-3 on Saturday at the World Baseball Classic. The Dominican team improved to 2-0 in Group C and advanced to the second round in Miami when Puerto Rico beat Venezuela 6-3 later Saturday.

Santana and Nelson Cruz each drove in two runs for the Dominican Republic. Edwin Encarnacion scored twice.

After 15 scoreless innings, Spain scored its first run of the tournament in the seventh and then added two in the ninth before Fernando Rodney shut the door.

“They never gave up,” Cruz said. “There are no weak opponents in this Classic, and we have to be on top of them all nine innings.”

Spain was beaten for the second time in a row after losing to Puerto Rico 3-0 on Friday night. AP

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