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
- Mexico (2-3) had 14 hits and won 9-5 to hand Taiwan (3-1) its first defeat of the World Cup.
- Despite making four erors, Italy defeated South Africa 8-0. South Africa had nine hits but left 12 men on base and could not score a single run. Italy third baseman Alex Liddi (Mariners), 19, started the scoring with a solo home run in the second inning. Liddi, who played in the low Class A Midwest League in 2007, went 2-for-4 in the game. Orlando Oberto pitched six scoreless innings for Italy. He was relieved by Cody Cillo, who struck out four in two innings of relief. Righthander Alessandro Maestri (Cubs), a 22-year-old who had a 2.26 ERA in 83 2/3 innings for low Class A Peoria this season, struck out one in a scoreless ninth inning.
- Cuba‘s Yadel Marti was one out away from a perfect game as Cuba defeated Venezuela 10-0.
- Australia (4-1) had its third walk-off victory of the World Cup when it won 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth against South Korea (3-2). Australia’s ninth hitter, second baseman Luke Hughes, got the scoring started with a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth inning. South Korea responded in the top of the seventh, when shortstop Si Hyun Son (2-for-4) hit a two-out single, then scored on a hit by catcher San Song to make it a 1-1 game. In the bottom of the ninth, left fielder Justin Huber (Royals) notched his second hit of the game with a one-out double. Doo Sung Hwang struck out third baseman Glenn Williams (Twins) for the second out of the inning, but DH Ben Risinger (2-for-3) singled to center field to drive in Huber for the winning run. Australia righthander Adam Blackley (Red Sox), who pitched 40 games between short-season Lowell and low Class A Greenville this year, allowed run in 6 2/3 innings. He allowed six hits, had four strikeouts and didn’t issue a walk. South Korea starter Won Jun Chang allowed one run on four hits in his seven innings. He had six strikeouts and no walks.
- In a battle of winless teams entering the game, Germany improved to 1-4 with a 2-0 victory over Thailand (0-5). Thailand, in its first ever World Cup, had by far its closest game so far in Taiwan.
- Canada third baseman Matt Rogelstad (Nationals) had three hits and righthander Brooks McNiven (Giants) threw six scoreless innings as Canada (3-2) defeated the Netherlands 7-1, dropping the Dutch record to 3-2. Canada DH Mike Saunders (Mariners) went 1-for-3 with a home run. Canadian outfielders Nick Weglarz (Indians) and Jamie Romak (Pirates) also each had a hit. For the Netherlands, left fielder Bryan Engelhardt went 2-for-4 with a home run. Netherlands starter Robbie Cordemans struck out seven in five innings, but he also walked five and allowed two earned runs
- Japan (3-2) easily handled Panama (3-2), holding Panama scoreless until the ninth inning and coming away with a 6-2 victory.
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