Team USA Revenges 2006 WBC Loss, Begins Road to Glory in Toronto
Forget redemption, this one was all about revenge.
Team USA defeated Team Canada six to five in a game that saw five balls leave the park, three for the Americans and two for the Canadians.
Canada struck first as Jake Peavy got off to a very rocky start. Justin Morneau's RBI ground out started the scoring, but the Canadians were unable to get another and left the bases loaded.
Team USA tied the score in the second with their only run to score on something besides a home run. Kevin Youkilis trotted home on Brian McCann's sacrifice fly, but the tie wouldn't hold.
Joey Votto ripped a Jake Peavy slider to the second deck in right center, which brought the sell-out crowd to its feat. Canada was the away team in name only as the majority of the 42,000 fans were backing the men in red at full throat.
Down two to one and seeing flashbacks of 2006's home loss in their minds, Team USA showed the potent offense that moved manager Davey Johnson to call his squad the team to beat.
Leading off the inning, Kevin Youkilis roped a 1-2 pitch into the stands and three batters later, Brian McCann hit a two run shot on the first pitch he saw to give Team USA a lead it would never give up.
Perhaps the only worrisome spot for Los Estados Unididos was, ironically, the bullpen.
The loss of Brian Fuentes, Joe Nathan and BJ Ryan within a week of each other took the US from having the best bullpen in the Classic to having a number of question marks. Joel Hanrahan allowed a run on a wild pitch and JJ Putz nearly gave the game away, barely stranding the tying run in scoring position in the top of the ninth.
The US will play the winner of tonight's Italy/Venezuela game tomorrow evening. If they win that game, they will advance to the next round.
Team Canada will play the loser of that same matchup in an elimination game. If they are to continue in this tournament, Canada needs to get production from more than three members of their lineup.
Joey Votto had over half of the team's hits, which makes an excellent game for him, but a poor showing from the rest of the team. Jason Bay and Justin Morneau need to exert a larger presence if the Canadians are going to defeat Italy and especially if they hope to knock of Venezuela.
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