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Tokyo 2020

Israel’s Olympic baseball team beats Mexico, keeping medal hopes alive

In first victory in Tokyo games, Israeli team wins 12-5, advancing to double round-robin phase

Israel's Daniel Valencia (2nd R, #19) celebrates his three run home run with teammates during the third inning of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games baseball round 1 game between Israel and Mexico at Yokohama Baseball Stadium in Yokohama, Japan, on August 1, 2021. (KAZUHIRO FUJIHARA / AFP)
Israel's Daniel Valencia (2nd R, #19) celebrates his three run home run with teammates during the third inning of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games baseball round 1 game between Israel and Mexico at Yokohama Baseball Stadium in Yokohama, Japan, on August 1, 2021. (KAZUHIRO FUJIHARA / AFP)

YOKOHAMA, Japan (AP) — Danny Valencia hit a three-run homer off a Mexican Double-A pitcher playing in his 15th consecutive minor league season, and Israel pounded relievers Fernando Salas and Oliver Pérez in a 12-5 win Sunday to reach the double round-robin phase of the Olympic baseball tournament.

Israel (1-2) got its first Olympic baseball victory, breaking open the game in a six-run seventh inning. and plays Tuesday against the winner of Monday night’s game between South Korea and the Dominican Republic (both 1-1).

Manny Barreda (0-1), a 32-year-old right-hander drafted by the New York Yankees in 2007 and released seven years later, gave up six runs, four hits and three walks in two-plus innings as Israel took a 6-0 lead and went on to eliminate Mexico (0-3), which was outscored 20-9.

Mexico clawed back to 6-5 before Salas, a 36-year-old right-hander, allowed Ian Kinsler’s leadoff double in the seventh and Valencia’s single.

Pérez relieved and the 39-year-old left-hander gave up Blake Gailen’s RBI single, two-run singles by Mitch Glasser and Zack Penprase, and Scotty Burcham’s RBI double.

Nick Rickles, a 31-year-old catcher who retired from Philadelphia’s minor league system during spring training in 2019 to become a Milwaukee minor league coach, had three RBIs.

Israel’s first baseman Daniel Valencia reacts while grounded out Mexico’s Jonathan Jones Jr (not in photo) during the eighth inning of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games baseball round 1 game between Israel and Mexico at Yokohama Baseball Stadium in Yokohama, Japan, on August 1, 2021. ( KAZUHIRO FUJIHARA / AFP)

Zack Weiss (1-0) got the win by allowing one run in two innings. Israel had 12 hits and set a tournament high for runs.

Ryan Lavarnway, 5 for 13 in the Olympics, doubled up the left-center gap in the first, and Rickles hit an RBI single with two outs. Lavarnway, who played four games for Cleveland in June when Austin Hedges went on the concussion injured list, tried to score from second on Rickles’ hit and was thrown out by left fielder Joey Meneses.

Barreda walked his first two batters in the the third and Valencia, exactly a week shy of the third anniversary of his last big league at-bat, rocketed an armpit-high fastball 10 rows deep into the left-field seats. Rickles greeted reliever Sasagi Sanchez with a two-run single for a 6-0 lead.

Adrián González finished 3 for 11 with an RBI and Meneses 6 for 12 with four RBIs.

Israel’s Mitchell Glasser (3rd L, #22) is congratulated by teammates on his scoring during the seventh inning of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games baseball round 1 game between Israel and Mexico at Yokohama Baseball Stadium in Yokohama, Japan, on August 1, 2021. (KAZUHIRO FUJIHARA / AFP)

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