Well, that certainly made up for the disappointing Japan-Korea game.
Some quick notes:
There was no real pitching star as no one who threw well pitched more than an inning, but
The U.S. spread its offense around, but
Canada will now face elimination on Monday against the loser of Saturday's 8 p.m. Venezuela vs. Italy game.
The USA will play the winner of that game Sunday night at 8 p.m., with the winner advancing to Round 2, and I'll be here to blog all the action.
Last licks for Canada with the top of the order going against the Mets' new set-up man,
Votto on second. Two out. 6-5 USA.
Bay takes a 96-mph fastball at the letters for strike one. Slider low is good for a strike, 0-2. A 95-mph heater floats up and away, 1-2. Another up and away at 94 mph makes it 2-2. A slider low runs the count full. Martin comes to the mound to change the signs. Bay has taken both sliders. Bay fouls back a 93-mph pitch on the outside corner. He then fouls off another pitch at 94 mph, sending it into the front rows of the stands down the right field line. Adam Dunn is checking his pulse in the USA dugout. 96 mph strike, Bay swings, fly ball to right field. Game over.
USA wins 6-5.
Canada has six outs left to erase its two-run deficit. They'll start off with the bottom of the order against lefty
Davidson has walked five men per nine innings in his minor league career and here walks
Hey, it's the wave. Note that fans never do the wave when their team is winning.
Last ups for the Canadians coming up ...
Rollins throws out
Shields strikes out Morneau on a curve that dives into the dirt. Now it's
Shields starts Stairs off with a diving curve that Stairs, swinging for the fences, misses. Another curve, up and away, is fouled off the other way. A 93-mph heater floats high, as does a second to run the count even at 2-2. Shields then comes back with the curve, low and in, and gets Stairs swinging, stranding both runners.
Aumont gets Wright to loop a ball to shortstop for the first out, passing the buck to
Braun hits a line drive right at Teahen at third base, prompting a pitching change.
With Marlins lefty
Begg is a 29-year-old righty who was in the Giants' system until an injury derailed his career. He finished last year in the independent Can-Am league. He wears his pant cuffs at the knee and throws from a low three-quarter angle.
Begg strikes out
By the way, the Rogers Centre is packed. It's like 1993 all over again.
Johnson rallies by striking out
3 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 HR, 3 BB, 4 K, 1 HBP. All of his outs have come via strikeout or groundout. In fact, other than Brian McCann's sac fly, every out in this game has been a strikeout or groundout.
Mike Johnson gets through the heart of the USA order on seven pitches via a pair of groundouts and an infield pop-up.
Two more groundouts give
Johnson is a thin fellow with a thin, scraggly beard and a three-quarters arm slot.
The Rogers Centre roof is closed due to rain as we get to watch yet another WBC game on turf. I understand the WBC having all of the first-round games outside of the U.S., but aren't there any foreign ballparks that have grass?
The USA is in their home whites with blue caps. The Canadians, who are actually on their home turf, are wearing red jerseys with grey road pants.
First pitch from
Peavy's at 95 mph right off the top here.
Down in San Juan, the Netherlands just upset the Dominican Republic 3-2. Wow.
Big hand for
Stairs is brushed on the right elbow with a pitch. Bases loaded.
Teahen strikes out on a fastball up. End of a half: 1-0 Canada.
Here are the lineups:
R -- Chris Barnwell (SS)
R -- Russell Martin (C)
L -- Joey Votto (DH)
L -- Justin Morneau (1B)
R -- Jason Bay (CF)
L -- Matt Stairs (RF)
L -- Mark Teahen (3B)
L -- Nick Weglarz (LF)
L -- Pete Orr (2B)
P -- Mike Johnson (RHP)
R -- Dustin Pedroia (2B)
R -- Derek Jeter (SS)
S -- Chipper Jones (DH)
R -- David Wright (3B)
L -- Adam Dunn (RF)
R -- Kevin Youkilis (1B)
R -- Ryan Braun (LF)
L -- Brian McCann (C)
S -- Shane Victorino (CF)
P -- Jake Peavy (RHP)
Only three men in the USA's lineup had an
Canada's defense could prove problematic. Bay is not a center fielder -- he last played there in 2005 and has played a grand total of 40 games in center in his major league career. To Bay's left is the lumbering
Canada's starting pitcher is righty
(*Baseball Prospectus's adjusted total-offense rate stat built on the same scale as batting average)
Jeter starts today against "second-division" Canada.
Rollins then starts the next game in which the USA will either be playing the winner of Game 2 with a chance to advance, or the loser of Game 2 in a double-elimination game.
If the US wins its first two games, Jeter would then start Game 6, which will only effect the seeding for Round 2.
Rollins would then start two of the first three games in Round 2, when the competition is stiffer, and if the U.S. wins its first two games of that round, Rollins would start in the final as well.
Not a bad trick.
Good afternoon, baseball fans, and welcome to SI.com's first World Baseball Classic live blog. We'll be running live blogs for all of the USA's games in this tournament, and I'll be your host for all but the two seeding games (Game 6 of Rounds 1 and 2, assuming the U.S. team makes it that far).
The tournament is really swinging into action this weekend with the first two games in both Pools C and D being played today, and Pool B's first two contests tomorrow, but Pool A got started things off on Thursday and has already seen the first team eliminated and the first team advance to Round 2. Chinese Taipei, which scored just one run in its two losses, was the first team to fall when China beat it 4-1 Friday night behind the fine play of Chinese-American shortstop
Our focus here, however, will be the action at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, where the USA begins its quest to erase the embarrassing memory of its Round 2 exit in the inaugural WBC tournament in 2006. The top two teams from each pool advance to Round 2 and, as I wrote in my look at the
That said, the best of those second-division teams is the USA's opponent in Saturday's game, Canada. Canada is not only playing in front of a home crowd in Toronto, but is the only "second-division" team to feature anything resembling a major league lineup. With
I'll be back in a bit with the starting lineups and updates roughly every half-inning.