Team USA rebounded from an opening-game loss to win 13 straight en route to the 2009 World Cup championship.
While the roster is largely different for this World Cup, Team USA rebounded nicely from an opening loss in the 2011 Cup in Panama, beating Taiwan 15-1 in a game called after seven innings by the mercy rule. The game was played at Ramon Cantera Stadium in Aguadulce.
Four U.S. players hit home runs, starting with A.J. Pollock (Diamondbacks), who hit a three-run shot in the seven-run fourth inning that broke it open. Tommy Mendonca (Rangers) hit a two-run shot in the fifth, while Matt Clark (Padres) added a three-run blast in the sixth and Jordy Mercer (Pirates) hit his solo homer in the seventh. It was one of three hits for Mercer, while Clark was the only other American with more than one hit. Taiwan committed four errors that helped lead to six unearned runs.
Veteran lefthander Andy Van Hekken (Astros) got the victory, pitching six innings, giving up four hits, one walk and one run while striking out five. Lefty Jeff Beliveau (Cubs) finished with a scoreless seventh.
Next up for the U.S. is a rescheduled matchup with Japan in Wednesday's only scheduled game.
Elsewhere in the World Cup:
• Canada, Cuba ,the Netherlands and host Panama all remained undefeated with victories Tuesday. Canada run-ruled Greece 12-2 behind three hits, including a home run, by outfielder Tim Smith (Royals) and shortstop Jonathan Melo (Mets). Canada walloped Greece's top pitchers in former indy ball lefthander A.J. Brack and ex-Diamondbacks farmhand Pete Sikaras.
• Cuba, to quote the International Baseball Federation's game report, "hit safely 17 times, with three doubles, one triple and the two homers, strengthening the original impression of a solid war-machine." They chased former Phillies farmhand Juan Colmenarez with four runs in the first inning and only failed to score once in a 14-2, seven-inning affair. Shortstop Erisbel Arruebarruena had another strong game with three hits, while Rusney Castillo homered to lead off the game and veteran catcher Ariel Pestano added another homer.
• The Netherlands moved to 3-0, beating Japan 5-2 behind stalwart righthander Rob Cordemans. The 36-year-old veteran of Netherlands' international play scattered five hits over six innings, while veterans Diegomar Markwell and David Bergman pitched the final three innings. The Dutch are leaning on veterans such as outfielder Shaldimar Daantji, who had the game's key hit, a three-run double, rather than prospects such as Xander Bogaerts (Red Sox), who didn't play, or Jonathan Schoop (Orioles), who went 0-for-2 with a stolen base.
• The host nation moved to 3-0 by beating Puerto Rico 4-2, limiting a lineup that scored eight runs against Team USA to just six hits. Former Yankees righthander Alberto Acosta, a 34-year-old veteran of Panama's national teams, pitched the first six innings, giving up only four hits and one run, while lefthander Eliecer Navarro (Pirates) and Yeliar Castro (Braves) got the last nine outs. Neftali Soto (Reds) doubled and scored for Puerto Rico, while Raymond Fuentes (Padres) was held hitless.
• Australia remained not only winless but scoreless in the Cup, losing 8-0 to South Korea. Pitchers Hyoun Taek Oh and Hyun Jun Lim combined for a four-hitter, striking out 12.
• Italy came up with its second victory by beating Nicaragua 6-3 behind three hits, including a home run, from Tony Granato, a former Cubs and Rockies farmhand who played his college ball at Virginia Commonwealth.
• The Dominican Republic run-ruled Germany 13-2 in seven innings, knocking out former Twins farmhand Tim Henkenjohann in the first inning. German teens Daniel Thieben, who's expected to sign with the Mariners next month, and Max Kepler (Twins) fared better than the team overall. Thieben pitched 1 1/3 hitless, scoreless innings while Kepler went 1-for-3 with an RBI. Righthander Mario Alvarez (Dodgers) pitched five innings for the Dominicans in the victory.
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