World Baseball Classic, Round two, Pool two: Puerto Rico – USA 11-1 (7)
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Puerto Rico scored six runs in the first two innings en route to an 11-1 pounding against Team USA on the first day of round two in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. Four runs in the seventh frame even led to an early ending due to mercy rule. The Americans now will be the next opponent of the Dutch team on Sunday, which had lost earlier on Saturday against Venezuela. Puerto Rico plays them on Monday.
Against one of the best pitchers in all of Baseball, Puerto Rico had no problems at all to kick off the offense early on. Carlos Delgado and Alex Rios built up a 2-0 lead in the opening frame on a RBI single and a sac fly. They blew the game wide open in the second period through a two-run homerun by Felipe Lopez and RBIs by Carlos Beltran and Delgado, chasing Jake Peavy (L 0-1) from the game.
Both teams exchanged runs through RBI doubles by Brian McCann and Ivan Rodriguez in the fifth, before Puerto Rico closed it out with another four-run rally in the seventh. Beltran and Lopez set it up with a solo homerun and another RBI double. Mike Aviles finalized the 11-1 score with a two-run single.
Beltran went three-for-three with a walk, three runs scored and two RBI. Lopez had two hits, scored twice and drove in three. Each player in the Puerto Rican lineup had at least a run or a RBI. Adam Dunn and McCann each had two hits for a disappointing Team USA that never had a real chance to come back.
Peavy allowed six hits, six runs and two base on balls in just two innings. The bullpen with Joel Hanrahan, John Grabow, Heath Bell and J.J. Putz more or less held the Puerto Rican offense in check afterwards, before Matt Thornton (0.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 1 BB) imploded like Peavy.
On the other side, Javier Vazquez (W 1-0), who has a reputation to falter in important games, pitched five solid innings, giving up one run on four hits, striking out two. 50 of his 67 pitches were strikes. Nelson Figueroa, Javier Lopez and Saul Rivera combined to induce just two more hits in the reminder of the contest.
Team USA had to remove second baseman Dustin Pedroia from the starting lineup after he strained his oblique. The World Baseball Classic is likely over for the 2008 American League MVP. Mark DeRosa of the Cleveland Indians replaced him. Chipper Jones was back in the lineup as the designated hitter.