Cuban reliever Yolexis Ulacia tonight achieved one of the most usual (and perhaps even entirely unprecedented) statistical oddities during Cuba’s 16-4 “mercy rule” demolishing of Mexico in World Baseball Classic Pool B play. Ulacia relieved with two outs and two aboard in the top of the seventh, with his team leading only 7-4. Batter Jorge Vázquez therefore represented the game’s tying run. Ulacia promptly struck out Vázquez (looking) to end the inning and the Mexican threat.
In the bottom of that same frame the Cuban juggernaut exploded for 9 tallies, the final three coming on Freddie Cepeda’s walk-off three-run blast over the center field fence. Cepeda’s homer stretched the margin to 12 runs and the game thus immediately ended due to international baseball’s ten-run mercy rule (the game ends once there is a ten-run margin at any time after the home seventh).
The result of these events was that Yolexis Ulacia was credited with a game “save” despite the fact that his team triumphed by a 12-run margin. I doubt this has ever happened before, certainly not at the higher levels of organized baseball. It is a circumstance that seemingly could only occur under the conditions of international baseball’s special 10-run “knockout” regulation.