Eric Tanaguchi of Brazil celebrates after retiring Carlos Martinez. (Photo Courtesy WBSC Americas)
By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network
Brazil shocked Colombia in an 8-7 win in extra innings on Sunday.
Ranked No. 23 in the world, Brazil improved to 2-0 in Group B at the 2023 Pan American Games. Colombia dropped to 0-2 in Group B and will play their last game in the opening round of the 2023 Pan American Games against Venezuela on Tuesday.
All Pan American Games during the baseball tournament are seven innings, though Brazil needed two extra frames to defeat Colombia.
In the bottom of the fourth inning with runners at the corners, Colombia’s Dilson Herrera hit a ground ball with Brazil’s infield playing in, and second baseman Lucas Rojo quickly sent the ball home to Brazil catcher Gabriel Barros to cut down Colombia third baseman Fabian Petruz at the plate to keep it scoreless.
In the bottom of the fifth, Brazil starter Daniel Misaki walked Colombia right fielder Derwin Pomare and then gave up a single to center field to designated hitter Leandron Emiliani, forcing Brazil manager Ramon Ito to go to the bullpen. Misaki threw four innings, allowing three hits, two earned runs, one walk, and six strikeouts before yielding to Murilo Brolo.
A few moments later, Colombia first baseman Jorge Chavez drove a single to center field, scoring Pomare for the first run of the game. Then Colombia catcher Carlos Arroyo launched a three-run home run over the left field wall. Chavez and shortstop Francisco Acuna came in to score to extend the lead to 4-0.
Colombia starting pitcher Julio Vivas went five innings, allowing three hits, no earned runs, walking one batter, and striking out three before handing over the ball to Carlos Diaz.
During the top of the sixth inning, Brazil center fielder Paulo Orlando roped a double down the right field line to score third baseman Pedro Silva to make it 4-1.
The next batter, designated hitter Salomon Koba, reached on an infield to single and first baseman Victor Coutinho came in to score to cut the lead to 4-2. Pertuz fielded the ground ball and tried to get Koba out at first base but threw the ball past Chavez, allowing Orlando to score from second base to cut the lead to 4-3.
Down one run entering the top of the seventh inning, Coutinho reached on a fielding error by Herrera in left field and Brazil shortstop Felipe Mizukosi came in to score to tie the game up at 4-4.
The game went into extra innings in the top of the eighth inning with Brazil starting the inning with runners on first and second.
Brazil broke the tie in the top of the eighth inning, when left fielder Fabio Murakam reached on a fielder’s choice with no outs and the bases loaded, as Pertuz threw home to get the go-ahead run at the plate. Carlos Arroyo’s throwing error following the force at home allowed Orlando and Andre Rienzo to score and Brazil went up 6-4.
Colombia tied the game up in the bottom of the eighth inning when Herrera laced a double down the left field line, scoring Pertuz and left fielder Jadier Morelos.
In the top of the ninth, Coutinho ripped a two-run RBI single to right field scoring Rojo and Barros for an 8-6 lead.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, Ito had relief pitcher Oscar Nakaoshi attempt to close out the game for a six-out save. Nakaoshi gave up an RBI single to left field by Acuna, scoring Pomare to cut the lead to 8-7.
Ito called on relief pitcher Gabriel De Souza to record the final two outs of the game, and he got Arroyo and Pertuz to strike out out swinging and secure the win.
Brazil has not won two games at an intercontinental senior event since the 2005 Baseball World Cup when they beat South Africa and Sweden in Pool A of that tournament. Brazil has not appeared in the Pan American Games since they were the host nation with the event that took place in Rio de Janeiro in 2007.
Brazil had not won a game in the Pan American Games since the 2003 tournament when they were paired up in Group A with Cuba, Mexico and Panama and went 1-2 in group play. This is the first time that Brazil is appearing in an intercontinental senior event tournament since appearing in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, though they did play in the 2017 and 2023 World Baseball Classic qualifiers. Brazil qualified for the 2023 Pan American Games, beating Argentina 2-0 in the 2022 South American Baseball Championship in July 2022 in Lima, Peru.
Group A of the 2023 Pan American Games will have the final two games of pool play on Monday, October 23, with No. 12 Panama (2-0) going up against No. 3 Mexico (2-0) at 8:30 a.m. EDT at Cerrillos Bicentennial Park. Chile will play No. 10 Dominican Republic in the final game of Group A at 2 p.m. EDT on October 23 at Cerillos Bicentennial Park.
Brazil will play their final game of group play against No. 8 Cuba on Tuesday, October 24, at 8:30 a.m. EDT at Cerrillos Bicentennial Park. Colombia will play against Venezuela Tuesday, October 24 at 2 p.m. EDT at Cerrillos Bicentennial Park.