United States Punches Ticket To Round Two In San Diego
The World Baseball Classic has been special to watch for fans of the game across the globe over the last few days. The atmosphere, heightened drama and heroics on display with seemingly every game have been an absolute pleasure to indulge. The United States has secured a place in the second round advancing out of Pool C with a victory over Canada on Sunday night in Miami.
The United States knew exactly what they needed to do in order to advance through the group and didn’t waste any time in their third tilt as they jumped out to the early lead over their counterparts from North of the Border. After starter Danny Duffy punched out the side in order to begin the ballgame, the U.S. were quick to harp on retired Ryan Dempster after he was roughed up in his first start against the Dominican Republic. Eric Hosmer opened the scoring on Sunday with a two-run double after Dempster walked two and allowed a hit to the raking Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich. The Americans really opened up the game with a three-run shot off the bat of Nolan Arenado in the second inning and would not look back.
After a heart-breaking loss last night against the DR, the resiliency the U.S. showed to come back and silence Canada without messing around. You all have seen by now the “shot heard round the world” where Nelson Cruz unloaded a go-ahead three-run home run off Andrew Miller that sent Marlins Park into hysteria. However, the game between Colombia and the DR earlier this afternoon carried an equally electrifying playoff/World Cup atmosphere. In a game that was a full-out battle no one saw coming and could have sent the entire Pool into a tiebreaker fiasco, the Dominican squad was able to withstand the battle for ten innings before opening the game up in the 11th. A crazy moment came in the bottom of the 9th, with the winning run at third and a fly ball to left, Jose Bautista came up firing and Wellington Castillo corralled the throw and made the tag at the plate that kept the game going.
The United States finishes the group at 2-1 after the 8-0 win over Canada on Sunday night. Their first win came against Colombia on an Adam Jones 10th inning walk-off single in game one. Also of note, Manager Jim Leyland‘s starters have tossed 12.2 innings of shutout baseball. Chris Archer went four scoreless in the opener, Marcus Stroman dominated the deep Dominican lineup for 4.2 innings last night and Duffy tossed four scoreless frames against Canada while striking out seven.
The United States will open play in Round Two in San Diego on Wednesday night at 9 pm eastern standard time. Their opponent will be the Pool D runner-up which would be Venezuela with a victory tonight over Mexico. If Mexico wins however, then it will go to tie-breaker scenarios that include Italy and a one-game playoff between the two teams with the fewer amount of runs allowed over their innings pitched.
If you haven’t been watching the World Baseball Classic, you’re missing out. For March, the play of these games has been crisp and exhilarating. Playoff-like feel with the pride of each individual country on the line. I am really looking forward to the next round and the conclusion of this tournament after the way that it shot out of the gate.
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