Brazil tops Panama, qualifies for World Baseball Classic

Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE

Yan Gomes' third-inning RBI single plates the lone run of the contest.

Yan Gomes drove in the game's lone run, while Rafael Fernandes hurled six shut-out innings, to help lift a young Brazilian squad over the favored Panamian club, 1-0, to qualify for the 2013 World Baseball Classic on Monday.

Gomes, the first-ever major-league player from Brazil, came to the plate in the third inning with Leonardo Reginatto on third base and blooped an RBI single to center field off Panamanian pitcher Angel Cuan, allowing the third baseman to score. Reginatto had been one of Brazil's prime offensive players in the WBC qualifiers, and he collected three hits in Monday's contest.

Brazil was aided by strong pitching performances from Fernandes, Murilo Gouvea, and Thyago Vieira. Fernandes allowed just two hits and one walk in his six innings, while Gouvea provided 2⅓ innings of hitless relief. Vieira closed out the game by striking out the final two batters, picking up his second save of the tournament.

Despite the loss, Panama also advanced to the World Baseball Classic.

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