World Baseball Classic Pool C: USA – Canada 6-5
CAN 101 001 101 5 7 1 USA 010 302 00X 6 9 0
It wasn’t shiny or easy, but in the end the result was right for Team USA on Saturday in the opener of Pool C at the Rogers Centre in Toronto. They defeated Canada 6-5 to start into the 2009 World Baseball Classic with a victory and will take on the winner of Venezuela against Italy on Sunday.
The game went back and forth and featured a total of five homeruns between the two teams. Canada struck first, taking a 1-0 lead in the top of the first on a Justin Morneau RBI groundout and were up 2-1 after Joey Votto’s solo shot in the third. In between the USA had tied the contest with a sac fly by Brian McCann.
In the fourth, the American offense went up for the first time on the day. Kevin Youkilis evened the score with a solo homerun. McCann followed moments later with a two-run shot for the 4-2. Jason Bay cut the deficit of the Canadians to a run, when he scored on a wild pitch in the top of the sixth. But Adam Dunn widened the lead again in the bottom of the same frame with a two-run homerun.
Canada was able to reduce the gap with Russell Martin’s solo homerun in the seventh and Votto’s RBI double in the ninth. However closer J.J. Putz recovered and got the final two outs on a groundball to shortstop Jimmy Rollins and a flyout to right fielder Shane Victorino, stranding pinch runner Brett Lawrie at second.
Team USA had opportunities in the seventh and eighth inning to blow the game wide open, but left the bases loaded in each of the periods.
Jake Peavy got the starting nod for Team USA, allowing two hits, two runs and three walks in three innings, striking out four. Reliever LaTroy Hawkins picked up the win for a scoreless fourth. Mike Johnson (L 0-1) gave up four hits, four runs and three base on balls in four innings.