Julio Urias and Austin Barnes played well in Mexico’s loss to Colombia

On Saturday Chase Field was still flooded with people, and their number grew with each addition to the green, red and white madness. Julio Urias absorbed the vibrations as best he could. He wanted to look around and greet everyone who was screaming his name as he warmed up in a Mexican jersey for the first time in over a decade.

But he had a job. The team (Mexico) was different. The stakes (World Baseball Classic) were unusual. The time (mid-March) was strange. However, the goal was the same: get as many outs as possible.

Over the course of four innings, the left-hander played without a hitch against Colombia. Twelve up, 12 down. Perfection. His fastball reached 95 mph. He scored four outs. He needed only 45 ropes for comfortable work. Catcher Dodgers Austin Barnes.

“He was untouchable,” Mexico’s manager said. Benji Gil said.

And then he was gone. Doubles in a row and a two-run home run from left field for fouls Reinaldo Rodriguez The 36-year-old journeyman who has never played in the big leagues spent three Colombian runs to ruin the first start of Urias’ WBC career. Mexico later equalized. Randy Arosa a two-run home run, but was defeated in 10 innings, 5-4.

Reinaldo Rodriguez of Colombia responds to a two-run home run against Mexico during the fifth inning on March 11, 2023.

Reinaldo Rodriguez of Colombia is encouraged after a two-run home run against Mexico during the fifth inning.

(Godofredo A. Vasquez/Associated Press)

The upset leaves Mexico in a situation where it almost has to defeat the United States on Sunday. Fans of Mexico are unhappy with the unexpected result. Dodgers and their fans, however, should be. Urias looked sharp outside of this rough patch with three tests.

Most importantly, the de facto Dodgers ace went healthy after dropping 62 pitches at max effort three weeks earlier than usual.

“He looked really good,” Barnes said. “But this is baseball. A couple of swings can change the game, but his stuff looked really good.”

The sudden slip started when Jorge Alfaro, an experienced major league catcher, scored a double in right center field. Four pitches later Elias Diaz changed places with him. Rodriguez skied the next pitch, a fastball at 93 mph, past the foul pole.

Rodriguez’s serve, Barnes noted, was a foot inside, off the plate. It didn’t matter.

“I felt good,” Urias said in Spanish. “Obviously, with baseball, that’s the beauty of it. It doesn’t matter how perfect you are, how good you are, how good your pitches are, and it works.”

Between successive takes, there was a brief fear off the plate when Barnes was hit in the dirt by Urias in the throat. Barnes was shocked for a few moments. The coaches looked after him. He stayed in the game after several practice shots from Urias. He left the stadium with a red print on his neck.

Austin Barnes of Mexico doubles in the ninth inning against Columbia.

Austin Barnes of Mexico doubles in the ninth inning against Columbia. The Dodgers went two to four.

(Daniel Sheary/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Batting ninth is Barnes, who is expected to start most if not all of Mexico’s games after catcher for the Toronto Blue Jays. Alejandro Kirk dropped out of the tournament at the end of last month, went two to four. He doubled with two strikeouts in the bottom of the ninth inning to make the winning streak hit before being replaced by a runner.

Colombia then deliberately bypassed Arozarena. The strategy worked. Guillermo ZunigaFormer Dodgers minor leaguer, struck out Alex Verdugo, a former Dodgers outfielder, hit three fastballs at the end of the half. The first speed was 101 km/h. The second was 100 miles per hour. The third, a 102 mph dart, sent Verdugo swinging.

The error resulted in a 10th inning victory for Columbia, leaving most of the 28,497 in attendance stunned. The result disappointed Mexico. For the Dodgers, it was a different story.

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