Follow the action all weekend at the Baseball America World Cup blog.
Catcher Bryan Anderson (Cardinals) went 4-for-4 with a home run, DH Andy LaRoche (Dodgers) went 2-for-5 with two home runs and center fielder Colby Rasmus (Cardinals) hit a three-run, inside-the-park homer to help Team USA defeat Spain 12-2 today at the World Cup in Taiwan. The victory improved Team USA’s record to 4-1, putting the Americans a half game ahead of Taiwan and Italy (both 3-1) in Pool A.
After an off day tomorrow, Team USA will be the heavy favorite against 0-5 South Africa on Tuesday at noon Taiwan local time (11 p.m. Eastern Standard Time). Team USA finishes pool play on Wednesday against Taiwan. Italy, which defeated Team USA 6-2 on Friday, faces Taiwan tomorrow (see schedule below).
On the mound, righthander Dallas Trahern (Tigers) allowed one run in four innings, striking out one and walking one. He gave up six hits, but Spain (1-4) was unable to string enough hits together to tack on more than one run.
The story, however, was Team USA’s offense, which had 14 hits (including four home runs) and six walks before the game ended after seven innings due to international rules that end games after seven innings if one team is ahead by at least 10 runs.
Team USA struck in the first inning, when second baseman Jayson Nix (Rockies) hit a one-out triple. LaRoche followed with his first home run of the game, giving Team USA a 2-0 lead.
Spain responded with a run in the bottom of the first to cut the deficit to 2-1, but Team USA came back with two more runs in the top of the second. Right fielder Justin Ruggiano (Rays) singled to right to lead off the inning, then came home when Anderson hit a home run to center field. In the third, first baseman Steven Pearce (Pirates) hit a solo home run to give Team USA a 5-1 lead.
After Spain shut down Team USA for the next three innings, the American offense exploded in the seventh inning for seven runs. After left fielder Delwyn Young (Dodgers) led off the top of the seventh with a walk, third baseman Evan Longoria (Rays) made it a 7-1 game with a homer to left. Pearce followed with a fly out to left field before Ruggiano walked and Anderson reached on a base hit. Spain got shortstop Brian Bixler (Pirates) out, but Rasmus followed with a line drive to left field, and circled all the way around the bases for the inside-the-park home run to give Team USA a 10-1 lead. Michael Hollimon (Tigers) entered the game as a pinch-hitter for Nix, and he drew a walk before LaRoche hit his second home run of the game to give Team USA a 12-1 lead.
Lefthander Jerry Blevins (Athletics), who relieved Trahern in the fifth inning, pitched two perfect innings and recorded two strikeouts. Righthander Chris Perez (Cardinals) pitched the seventh and final inning, allowing one run on two hits and a walk.
Every starter on Team USA reached base at least once. Along with Anderson and LaRoche, Longoria (2-for-4 with a home run) and Nix (2-for-3 with a triple) also had multi-hit games. For Spain, DH Santana Rodriguez, who hit third in Spain’s lineup, went 2-for-4 with a double. Spain center fielder Daniel Figueroa (Orioles) went 1-for-4 with a triple. Righthander Rhinel Cruz (Mets) had a rough outing, pitching two-thirds of an inning in relief in the sixth inning. Cruz allowed five earned runs, surrendering three hits and two walks without recording a strikeout.
AROUND THE WORLD
SCHEDULE (times listed are Taiwan local times)
MONDAY, NOV. 12
2 pm: Taiwan vs. Italy
TUESDAY, NOV. 13
12 pm: USA vs. South Africa
12 pm: Italy vs. Japan
6 pm: Panama vs. Taiwan
6 pm: Mexico vs. Spain
12 pm: Australia vs. Germany
12 pm: Thailand vs. Cuba
6 pm: Korea vs. Netherlands
6 pm: Canada vs. Venezuela
WEDNESDAY, NOV. 14
12 pm: Japan vs. Spain
12 pm: Mexico vs. Italy
6 pm: Taiwan vs. USA
6 pm: Panama vs. South Africa
12 pm: Cuba vs. Netherlands
12 pm: Germany vs. Korea
6 pm: Canada vs. Australia
6 pm: Venezuela vs. Thailand
South Africa 0
South Korea 1
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