Former D-backs and Pirates farmhand Yunesky Sanchez went 4-for-6 and capped a three-RBI night by driving in the go-ahead run in the 10th inning Sunday as Spain edged Israel, 9-7, to reach the main field of the World Baseball Classic.
Israel jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first and took a 6-4 advantage into the fifth. Sanchez, who last played affiliated baseball with Double-A Altoona in 2011, hit a leadoff single and scored when Jesus Golindano drew a bases-loaded walk.
Spain tied it in the seventh as Adrian Nieto scored on Golindano's groundout. Both teams scored in the eighth and the game headed to extra innings.
Sanchez delivered Spain's biggest hit of the double-elimination tournament when he singled home Rangers outfield prospect Engel Beltre with two outs in the 10th.
"To tell you the truth, we couldn't believe it," Spain manager Mauro Mazzotti told on-site MLB.com reporter Adam Berry. "We knew, as we've told them since Day 1, on any given Sunday, anybody can beat anybody. And we did it.
"You guys in the States are used to 162 games; this is a one-game playoff. This is one game, no tomorrow. Tomorrow, there's only the airplane to go home. We just played our game. We knew we had some problems, pitching-wise, but we kept hitting. We kept coming back. We played hard. We believed it. And we made it."
Spain opened the event with an 8-0 blanking of France, then dropped a 4-2 decision to Israel. Facing elimination, the Spaniards crushed South Africa on Saturday, 13-3.
Despite playing for the fourth time in as many days, Spain -- the third-place finisher at the 2007 European Baseball Championships -- advanced to the main tournament.
Signed by the D-backs as a non-drafted free agent in 2006, Sanchez spent five years in the Minor Leagues. Across four levels with Arizona and the Pirates, the 28-year-old shortstop batted .286 with 14 homers and 147 RBIs. He was a Midwest League All-Star in 2007 and a Southern League All-Star the following year.
Sanchez reached Triple-A Reno in 2010 but never earned a callup to the Majors.
Gabriel Suarez, who played at two levels in the Dodgers' organization this year, was was 3-for-4 with a walk and two runs scored for Spain. Golindano finished with three RBIs out of the No. 9 spot in the lineup.
Padres prospect Cody Decker reached base three times and drove in two runs for Israel.
"They're deserving," Israel manager Brad Ausmus said. "No sour grapes. We knew the format coming in. If they had beat us the other night and we won tonight, we wouldn't be complaining then, so we're not going to complain now. That's the format. The Spanish team outplayed us tonight. Simple as that."
Canada and Germany will battle Monday in the final of the qualifying group in Regensburg, Germany. The final two WBC spots will be filled in November from qualifying tournaments in Panama City, Panama, and New Taipei City, Taiwan.