Team USA’s pair of talented third basemen went a combined 5-for-8 with a home run and two doubles to defeat Panama 7-0 and improve to 2-0 in the World Cup. Team USA’s next game is against Italy (1-0) at noon in Taiwan (11 p.m. Eastern Standard Time).
Third baseman Andy LaRoche, one of the Dodgers’ top prospects, went 3-for-4 with two doubles. Evan Longoria (Devil Rays), who played third base in the team’s 3-0 win over Mexico in the opener, went 2-for-3 with a home run as the team’s designated hitter. While LaRoche and Longoria carried the offense, righthander Matt Wright (Royals) struck out five without allowing a walk through six shutout innings.
Team USA got on the board in the first inning and drove Panama starter Elpidio Pinto out of the game early. After Pinto retired Colby Rasmus (Cardinals) and Jayson Nix (Rockies) to start the game, LaRoche singled and Delwyn Young (Dodgers) drew a walk. Longoria’s single up the middle drove in LaRoche for the first run of the game before Pinto retired Steven Pearce (Pirates) to end the inning.
In the second, Tyler Colvin (Cubs), making his first start for Team USA, doubled to lead off the inning. Pinto nearly escaped unscathed by retiring Bryan Anderson (Cardinals) and Mark Hollimon (Tigers), but Team USA came up with another two-out rally. Rasmus drove in Colvin with a single to center field to give the United States a 2-0 lead. After Pinto hit Nix with a pitch, LaRoche doubled to right field, scoring Rasmus and Nix and giving Team USA a 4-0 lead and knocking Pinto out of the game.
With Wright shutting down the Panama hitters, Team USA scored again in the sixth, when Hollimon and Nix each hit singles and scored on another double from LaRoche. Team USA tacked on its final run in the seventh when Longoria hit a solo home run.
Righthanders Steven Shell (Angels), Chris Perez (Cardinals) and Jeff Stevens (Indians) each pitched a scoreless inning in relief.
Australia’s Walk-Off Win
Australia edged the Netherlands 4-3 with a come-from-behind victory in the bottom of the ninth. With the game tied 2-2 after the bottom of the eighth, the Netherlands took a 3-2 lead in the top of the ninth.
In the bottom of the ninth, Australia shortstop Brad Harman led of the inning with a single. Pinch-hitter Gavin Fingleson reached base on throwing error by second baseman Michael Duursma, with Harman advancing to third. Harman scored on a sacrifice fly from second baseman Luke Hughes, and the throw home from the outfield allowed Fingleson to advance to second base. Center fielder Trent Oeltjen drove in Fingleson for the winning run on the next at-bat by driving a pitch off the wall in the gap in right-center field. Oeltjen, who hit leadoff, finished 3-for-4.
Lefthander Travis Blackley, who made two starts this year for the San Francisco Giants and started 28 games for Triple-A Fresno, was the starter for Australia. Blackley allowed one earned run on three hits through five innings, striking out three and walking one. Trouble for Australia came when righthander Brendan Wise relieved Blackley and gave up two runs in the sixth inning. The damage could have been far worse for Australia, though. Wise, a 21-year-old Tigers farmhand who had a 3.12 ERA in high Class A in 2007, walked nine batters in his three innings of relief.
For the Netherlands, 7-foot-1 righthander Loek Van Mil, pitched two scoreless innings of relief. Van Mil, who was a catcher until age 15, had a 2.63 ERA in 24 innings in the Rookie-level Appalachian League in 2007.
- Italy, which defeated Spain 11-1, got a strong performance from third baseman Alex Liddi (Mariners), who went 2-for-4 with a double. Liddi, who turned 19 on Aug. 14, hit .240/.308/.385 in the low Class A Midwest League this season.
- Defending champion Cuba won 7-3 over Germany after squeaking out a 3-2 victory over Australia in its first game. Cuba starter Vladimir Banos pitched seven innings with seven strikeouts, no walks and three earned runs. Cuba left fielder Frederic Cepeda had three hits, including a triple and a double, and Cuba third baseman Alexander Mayeta also had three hits. Cuba first baseman Yoandry Urgelles, who drive in four runs, went 2-for-3 with a home run and a triple. Despite giving up four runs in the first inning, Germany righthander and former Twins farmhand Tim Henkenjohann threw a complete game. He allowed 14 hits and seven runs, walked four and struck out five.
- Taiwain‘s Ying-Chieh Lin struck out 10, walked two and allowed one earned run in six innings against South Africa. Five Taiwan players had multi-hit games, including former major leaguer Chin-Feng Chen (2-for-4 with a home run).
- Thailand, which lost its first game 16-0 to the Netherlands, lost 18-0 to Canada.
SCHEDULE (Taiwan local times)
12 pm: Italy vs. USA
12 pm: Spain vs. South Africa
6 pm: Taiwan vs. Japan
6 pm: Panama vs. Mexico
12 pm: Korea vs. Thailand
12 pm: Australia vs. Venezuela
6 pm: Cuba vs. Canada
6 pm: Netherlands vs. Germany
South Africa 1