World Baseball Classic Pool C: USA – Venezuela 3-5
VEN 001 012 100 5 12 1 USA 000 100 020 3 7 0
Venezuela set up a matchup with the Netherlands on Saturday in round two, when they defeated Team USA on Wednesday at the Rogers Centre 5-3, taking the number one seed in Pool C. The Americans had crushed Venezuela in the first match last Sunday, but were off the past few days and looked a little rusty on a few occasions. They will face Puerto Rico at Dolphin Stadium in Miami in the round-two opener.
Henry Blanco put Venezuela on the board in the third, sending a pitch of Ted Lilly over the left field wall. Team USA came back, tying the contest one frame later through a RBI double by Ryan Braun. But the team of manager Luis Sojo took the lead for good between the fifth and seventh periods. Gregor Blanco drove in Henry Blanco with a triple to center field, Toronto Blue Jay Marco Scutaro added two runs in the sixth with a single and Melvin Mora followed with a RBI single in the seventh, building up the gap to four runs.
Chris Iannetta cut the deficit to two runs in the eighth with a two-run homerun. The USA threatened to rally in the ninth against Francisco Rodriguez (S 1), putting Jimmy Rollins and Derek Jeter on base with a walk and on a fielding error and one out. But Jeter was thrown out on the back end of a double steal by Henry Blanco and K-Rod struck out Kevin Youkilis on four pitches to end the game.
Starter Victor Zambrano (VEN) did a much better job than last Sunday, when he allowed four runs in one-plus innings of relief. He gave up three hits, one run and two base on balls in 3 1/3 innings. Jan Granado (W 1-0) picked up the win. Lilly (USA) induced three hits and a run in three innings. Jeremy Guthrie (L 0-1) took the loss, being responsible for seven hits, four runs and two bb in two-plus frames.