MIAMI—Puerto Rico starting pitcher Mario Santiago put his team’s 7-1 loss to the U.S. in perfect perspective.
“Never in my life have I faced a lineup like that,” Santiago said Tuesday night after the Pool 2 World Baseball Classic game at Marlins Park.
Santiago’s point was well taken. When Giancarlo Stanton, with 37 homers last season, bats eighth and Ben Zobrist—20 homers and a .377 on-base percentage—hits ninth, yeah, that’s pretty stacked.
Batting fifth was David Wright, who ended up with five RBI. But Wright was quick to credit his teammates who put him in great situations. Wright hit with the bases loaded three times on Tuesday and came through
On his third bags-full opportunity, Wright broke the game open with a three-run double to make the score 7-1 in the eighth. Wright got his big
hit off of lefty reliever Xavier Cedeno.
Wright was 5-for-11 in Pool D against Canada, Italy and Mexico and had three walks and five RBIs, four of them coming on a grand slam against Italy. He had more bases-loaded success on this night even if he fell short of a slam.
He said he had to thank “Mr. Torre,” otherwise known as USA manager Joe Torre, for putting him in the lineup between lefty hitters Joe Mauer and
Eric Hosmer. That allowed Wright to see a lefty reliever, a rare late-game bonus for the righty hitter.
Meanwhile, Puerto Rico manager Edwin Rodriguez said Cedeno should be proud.
“That was a hell of a pitch from Xavier,” Rodriguez said. “If he throws that nine times out of 10, he will get the batter out. You have to give Wright credit.”
Wright said Cedeno “fooled me on a couple of similar pitches, sliders” before he got a 2-2 curve.
“My timing got better with each pitch,” Wright said. “It makes my job easier when I’m hitting behind Ryan Braun and Joe Mauer.
“It seems like every at-bat, I’m hitting with runners in scoring position, and, in this case, the bases loaded with less than two outs.”