Barden Rallies U.S. Past Canada

When Jayson Nix went down with a eye injury during Friday’s game with Cuba, Brian Barden became Team USA’s regular second baseman, partly because the team doesn’t have any other options.

In his first game at second, Barden seemed up to the job.

After falling behind Canada by four runs early, Barden led the U.S. comeback. He homered in the fourth to start the U.S. comeback, then added an RBI double in the seventh to tie the game at 4-4. Terry Tiffie’s RBI double moments later in the seventh gave the U.S. its first lead, at 5-4. It was yet another big hit for Tiffie, who has been the Americans most effective hitter. Tiffie hit two doubles yesterday and is now 8-for-16 in the tournament.

Reliever Brian Duensing, who threw 3 1/3 scoreless innings, made that lead hold up, as he shut down Canada in the late innings.

The win was a much-needed one for the U.S., as it evened the team’s record at 2-2. A loss would have likely meant that the U.S. would go undefeated in its final three games, now there’s a chance that Team USA could go 2-1 and still make the medal round. The loss puts Canada in a more difficult spot, as the Canadians are now 1-3.

In the other early game, Cuba beat Taiwan 1-0 to remain undefeated.

Team USA starter Brett Anderson allowed four runs on nine hits in 5 2/3 innings before being replaced by Duensing. Canadian starter James Avery was on a quicker hook, as he was pulled as soon as he got into trouble in the fourth—he gave up two runs in 3 2/3 innings. Chris Reitsma picked up the loss for Canada, as he gave up the two runs in the seventh.

The U.S. has an off day today before returning to action Monday morning against China at 7 p.m.