Todd Redmond (Braves) took a perfect game into the seventh inning and allowed just two hits in seven shutout innings as Team USA rebounded from an opening-game loss in the World Cup. The Americans beat host Germany 9-1 in a game televised on MLB Network, played in front of nearly 10,000 fans in Regensburg, Germany.
Redmond’s bid for perfection ended on a slow roller to third base off the bat of Dominik Wulf. Pedro Alvarez (Pirates) fielded and made a strong throw to first that was slightly off-line, and first baseman Justin Smoak (Rangers) and Wulf collided. Wulf was credited with a hit, and Smoak was slightly injured, holding his right wrist, but he stayed in the game. Germany later got a second, cleaner hit by DH Michael Franke.
Team USA struck first with a solo homer by Ike Davis (Mets), then got three more in the third off German starter Tim Henkenjohann, a former Twins farmhand. Buck Coats (Blue Jays), Smoak and Trevor Plouffe (Twins) also homered to build the lead to 9-0, before Germany scored a run in the bottom of the ninth to avoid the shutout.
Smoak’s homer was his third in two games, while Davis had three hits to pace the 10-hit American attack. Redmond went eight innings while striking out seven to earn the victory.
The U.S. plays China on Saturday in the last game of the first round of pool play. Of the 20 teams currently playing, 14 advance to the second round of pool play, with second-round hosts Italy and the Netherlands joining the field after getting first-round byes (basically for being second-round hosts).
In the rest of Friday’s games:
• Also in Regensburg, Venezuela improved to 2-0 with a 17-2, five-inning shellacking of China. Luis Landaeta, who had a 10-year minor league career, hit a two-run homer in the first inning to get things started, and former Mets farmhand Junior Guerra struck out seven in five innings to get the win.
• In Zagreb, Croatia, Nicaragua moved to 2-0 with a 10-1 mauling of Nicaragua. Third baseman Jimmy Morales hit a pair of homers for the second straight game, and first baseman Sandor Mayorca also homered twice in the victory. Japan also improved to 2-0 by beating host Croatia 13-3. Croatia actually led 3-2 in the third inning after Josip Brozinic’s three-run homer, but that’s all the Japanese gave up.
• In Barcelona, Cuba rolled to a 10-5 win against Pirates farmhand Gift Ngoepe and South Africa. Ngoepe, featured this summer in Sports Illustrated, had two of the South Africans’ six hits, but Cuba had five home runs to take control of the game, including the second homers of the event for Yulieski Gourriel and Alfredo Despaigne. Also in Barcelona, Ruben Gotay homered to help Puerto Rico hold off host Spain 5-3.
• In Sundbyberg, Sweden, South Korea beat the host nation 5-1, as knuckleballer Kent Karlsson walked three in Korea’s two-run first inning. Canada took control of the pool in Sundbyberg, beating the Netherlands Antilles 15-0 in a seven-inning affair. Brett Lawrie (Brewers), Rene Tosoni (Twins) and Jonathan Malo (Mets) all homered for the Canadians. Matt Kniginyzky (Royals) and Vince Perkins (Cubs) combined on a one-hit shutout.
• In Prague, Mexico beat the host Czechs 9-0. Former big leaguer Francisco Cordova struck out nine in six innings, and Sergio Contreras crushed a three-run homer. The most competitive game of the day was Australia’s 7-5 win against Taiwan, as Twins farmhand James Beresford hit a two-out, two-run home run to break a 5-5 tie in the eighth. Aussie outfielder Tim Kennelly (Phillies) continued to swing a hot bat, adding his third homer of the tournament, and reliever Adam Bright (Rockies) got out of a jam to earn the save in the ninth.