It's difficult to remember now, but the U.S. entered the top of the sixth tonight trailing 3-2. They then sent eleven men to the plate and scored eight runs in that inning and added five more over the final three innings to romp to a 15-6 victory over Venezuela and become the second team in the tournament, after Japan, to clinch a second-round berth.
The big hit of the game was
On the other side,
Still, Venezuela did score six runs. The real story was the awful Venezuelan pitching.
Instead, Venezuela will play the winner of Monday's matchup between Italy and Canada in a double elimination game on Tuesday. If they win that game, they'll rematch with the USA on Wednesday in a game that will simply determine the seeding for Round 2. We'll have a live blog of that seeding game, and I'll be back with you here for the USA's first game of Round 2 on Saturday.
ESPN's video signal just went dark. I think they ran out of tape. Fortunatley, they have commercials to rerun. Turning to MLB.com's Gameday, after
From the replay ESPN just showed, Braun's homer looked foul, and Braun looked unsure on his way to second base, but the announcers didn't discuss it at all. I suppose at 14-5 it's not worth reviewing (MLB replay rules are in effect for the WBC). Venezuela might disagree.
New Padres closer
Actually, the great thing about baseball is that as long as a team has one out left, no lead is technically out of reach. Venezuela has three outs left.
Now two outs after
The USA clinches a second round berth with a 15-6 win.
Granado walks Braun.
Runners on first and second with two out.
Rick Sutcliffe's color commentary has descended to (paraphrasing quite a bit), "O.B., could you eat a giant ball of wasabi? I don't think I could do it."
Ramirez lines out to right, and Pirates lefty
I don't ever need to see
Broxton strikes out
The U.S. really needs to get the bats going. With
Youkilis swings at a two-strike pitch about four feet outside and in the dirt, but reaches first as the ball bounces over the net and into the seats behind home.
DeRosa swings through an 84-mph pitch that the ESPN cameras fail to show for strike one. Another breaking ball is taken for ball one. Zambrano throws a back-door cutter that looked like a strike but was called a ball. There were two shaky calls by home plate ump
Still no one out in this inning, but at least
Vasquez strikes out lefty
Zambrano's line, by the way, was 1 IP, 2 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 0 K
Top of the order and
Braun hits a chopper to second. Pedroia moves to third. Here's Kevin Youkilis's second at-bat of the inning. He started the inning off by reaching base on a wild third strike.
Youkilis works Hernandez for eleven pitches before launching a two-run homer to left-center. I wish I'd thought to check the time when this inning started, it feels like the U.S. has been batting for a week. With the U.S. up 10-3, the mercy rule starts to loom.
At this point it seems worth mentioning that
Top of the order for the USA.
Rollins has a foot on the grass when he takes his lead at first-base, but it doesn't keep him out of the 6-4-3 double play
Lindstrom still in for the Americans. He sets Venezuela down in order by getting
DeRosa swings at a 93-mph two-seamer low and away and shoots the ball past the reach of Gregor Blanco in the right-center-field gap. Youkilis and Dunn come around to score and DeRosa slides into third with a triple, proving that
Galaraga's at 55 pitches now and seems to be losing both velocity and location. He walks
A curveball in the dirt way outside and in the dirt is smothered by
Oswalt just threw a gimme 88-mph fastball for a strike on 2-0. A curve evens the count at 2-2. Scutaro then fouls off a 95-mph fastball. Curve in the dirt, full count. Curve outside to walk Scutaro. Oswalt is at 64 pitches. The limit is 70.
Blanco singles to right on the first pitch, 3-2 Venezuela. Scutaro moves to third. Oswalt is at 65 pitches.
The infielders gather at the mound to waste time. As the home plate umpire goes out to break it up,
It's beginning to look like I owe
Venezuela is in their home whites with maroon caps and gold outlines. The USA is in their road grays with red caps, but blue belts and shoes.
Iannetta hits a bouncer back to Galarraga for the third out. That came on another one of those sliders. Galarraga has a lot of movement on that pitch down and to the left and ten miles per hour of separation between that and his best fastball.
First pitch from
Rollins singles over the leap of
Galarraga's first pitch to
S -- Jimmy Rollins (SS)
R -- Dustin Pedroia (2B)
S -- Chipper Jones (3B)
R -- Kevin Youkilis (1B)
R -- David Wright (DH)
L -- Adam Dunn (RF)
R -- Mark DeRosa (LF)
R -- Chris Iannetta (C)
L -- Curtis Granderson (CF)
P -- Roy Oswalt (RHP)
L -- Gregor Blanco (CF)
R -- Melvin Mora (3B)
L -- Bobby Abreu (RF)
R -- Miguel Cabrera (1B)
R -- Magglio Ordoñez (LF)
S -- Carlos Guillen (DH)
R -- Jose Lopez (2B)
R -- Ramon Hernandez (C)
R -- Marco Scutaro (SS)
P -- Armando Galarraga (RHP)
As much as I disagree with
As for the U.S.,
We return to the Rogers Centre where Saturday's two victorious teams from Pool C are about to match up with the winner advancing to Round 2.
In Saturday's action, the United States pulled out a tense 6-5 victory over its Canadian hosts, with
I was stupefied, however, by the fact that Venezuelan manager
Sojo turned to Hernandez with the game still scoreless entering the fifth inning, one assumes in an effort to avoid going to his bullpen too early in a game that he thought might go extra innings. I can appreciate that to a degree, but why not turn to another one of his starters? Why use his ace against an already overmatched Italian lineup? Looking at the Venezuelan roster, Sojo has three established major league starters in Silva, Hernandez, and
At any rate, it's inexplicably not Felix Hernandez, but Armando Galarraga against
I'll be back in a bit with the lineups and updates throughout the game.