Team USA didn't get off to the best of starts at the World Baseball Classic. In a sizable upset, Mexico won 5-2 to earn its first victory of the tournament after losing its opener to Italy 6-5.
In a tournament that doesn't afford much room for error and slip-ups, this was a huge blow for Team USA. Considered one of the favorites for the tournament, it'll certainly need to improve its performance going forward if it wants to advance to the second round.
It wasn't all bad, though. Both teams received commendable efforts from individual players that can be built upon as both Mexico and Team USA try to navigate their way through Pool D. Here were the players who shined in this opening-round tilt.
David Wright, 3B
Team USA only generated two runs, so there weren't very many productive bats in the lineup, but Wright had a pretty good day at the plate overall.
The third baseman went 2-for-4 at the plate and drove in one of the team's two runs with a two-out single that brought Jimmy Rollins in and moved Ryan Braun to third base. It wasn't a highlight home run, but he got the job done with two outs and you can't ask for much more.
He left two runners on base, but just about everyone in the U.S. lineup left runners on base in this one. Missed opportunities defined this one for Team USA and that made Wright's RBI stand out.
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Gonzalez was a one-man wrecking crew for Mexico.
He bashed a two-run dinger off of R.A. Dickey in the third inning with two outs that turned out to be the runs that would put Mexico up for good. In addition to that, he drew three walks and drove in another run.
That kind of patience at the plate makes Gonzalez one of the most dangerous bats in this entire tournament and a huge advantage for Mexico going forward. If it weren't for his big day, this one might have been a bit closer. He was the determining factor.
Sergio Romo, CP
Perhaps the biggest takeaway for Mexico was that Sergio Romo was able to bounce back to earn the save in this game.
In Mexico's opening game against Italy, Romo was called upon in the ninth inning to slam the door on the Italians and secure the win with a one-run lead. Instead, he earned a blown save by giving up two runs on three hits.
Romo had a bit easier task this time around, inheriting a three-run lead in the ninth inning that he was able to keep by retiring the USA side in order. There wasn't much pressure involved, but the fact that he could go three-up and three-down to close out the game was a good sign that Mexico can depend on him to put his early blown save behind him.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!