Power arms carried Team USA to an Olympic gold medal in 2000. USA Baseball’s World Cup team is hoping to ride power bats to gold in the Netherlands.
Team USA rallied from its first deficit of the tournament to remain undefeated at the 36th World Cup, clubbing four home runs and beating Australia 6-4 Monday. The Americans, managed by Davey Johnson, then clubbed three consecutive homers Tuesday afternoon to beat Spain 11-1 in a game ended early by the international 10-run mercy rule. Team USA plays Puerto Rico on Wednesday at 7 a.m. Eastern time.
Catcher Rob Johnson (Mariners) capped a three-run eighth-inning rally against Australia with a two-run homer to provide the margin of victory as the Americans moved to 2-0. Team USA also got a pair of solo homers by DH Bryan LaHair (Mariners), who hit safely in his first six at-bats of the tournament, and a solo shot from left fielder Jeff Deardorff (Devil Rays).
The Americans had just nine hits against six Australian pitchers—Paul Mildren (Marlins), Adam Bright (Rockies), Aaron MacKenzie (Angels), Adrian Burnside (Blue Jays), Tristan Crawford and Phil Stockman (Diamondbacks)--all of whom pitched in affiliated ball in 2005.
Burnside got the loss after giving up the American rally in the eighth. Australia had taken a 4-3 lead in the seventh on an RBI triple by Trent Oeltjen (Twins), who scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch by Talley Haines (Cubs). The U.S. answered as Josh Phelps (Devil Rays) doubled off Burnside to start the eighth. Burnside fanned LaHair, but Chris Latham (independent Bridgeport) doubled to score Phelps and tie the game. Burnside struck out Deardorff and was relieved by Crawford, whom Johnson greeted with the game-winning homer.
Haines pitched the bottom of the eighth for the victory and gave way to righty Chris Mobley (Marlins), who pitched a perfect ninth for the save. Jason Jacome (Mexican League) got the start for Team USA and lasted 4 2/3 innings, giving up two runs. Australia had just seven hits (including a solo homer by former Marlins and Red Sox farmhand Brett Roneberg) but American pitchers issued six walks.
Against the overmatched Spaniards, righthander Jared Wells (Padres) struck out nine in six innings, and the U.S. hit four more homers. Lastings Milledge (Mets) led off the bottom of the first with a homer, and the Americans ended the game with three straight solo shots off former Expos farmhand Xavier (also Javier) Civit. Milledge, shortstop Ben Zobrist (Astros) and third baseman Mike Cervenak (Giants) connected on the home runs, while second baseman Brant Ust (Red Sox) had four RBIs out of the No. 9 spot. Deardorff and Phelps had three hits apiece in the 14-hit American effort.
In other games Monday, Cuba improved to 4-0 with an 11-1 thumping of Brazil, while Panama pounded Sweden 11-1 behind Rockies farmhand Ramon Ramirez, who struck out 10 in a seven-inning complete game. Two home runs by Joey Votto (Reds) weren’t enough for Team Canada, which lost 7-6 to Korea to fall to 1-2. Righthander Orlando Roman (Mets) pitched an eight-inning complete-game shutout for Puerto Rico in a 10-0 victory against Colombia.