Team USA didn’t have time to ponder over the late-inning collapse against the Dominican Republic on Saturday, as they were slated to wrap up pool play Sunday night. With a 1-1 record in Pool C, the Americans needed to defeat Team Canada to secure a place in San Diego, the site of the second round of the 2017 World Baseball Classic.
Team USA Defeats Canada, Advances in WBC
USA Starting Pitching Still Brilliant
Danny Duffy started on the mound for Team USA, coming off a career year with the Kansas City Royals in 2016. Keeping with the trend set by Chris Archer and Marcus Stroman, Duffy turned in another dominant USA starting pitching performance. Duffy retired the side in order through the first two innings, striking out the side in the first. He finished the night with seven punchouts over four scoreless innings before being replaced by Mychal Givens. Duffy’s performance brought the scoreless-innings streak for USA starters up to 12.2 innings to start the tournament.
Dempster Chased Early
Coming off a disappointing outing against the Dominican Republic in the Pool C opener, Ryan Dempster looked to bounce back against Team USA. The players in the other dugout, however, had other ideas. Both Ian Kinsler and Christian Yelich reached base to begin the bottom of the first. Later in the frame, Nolan Arenado drew a walk and Eric Hosmer drove in Kinsler and Yelich with a double to center. After a walk to Paul Goldschmidt, Dempster was pulled after only recording one out in the inning. On the hook for three more, Buster Posey grounded out to score Arenado to give Team USA a 3-0 lead after one. Dempster’s final line was a dismal three runs allowed over 0.1 innings pitched, not exactly how he envisioned his final competitive outing.
Arenado Breaks the Game Open
Arenado, whose bat had been quiet for pretty much all of the tournament, made his presence known with a towering three-run homer to increase Team USA’s lead to 6-0. The Americans would add another run to increase its lead over Team Canada to 7-0.
A Posey solo homer in the seventh added another run, increasing USA’s lead to 8-0. The score remained through the final out.
USA’s Bullpen Slams the Door
After Duffy’s departure and a big lead in hand, Team USA’s bullpen didn’t look back. Givens, Tyler Clippard, Jake McGee and Nate Jones combined to hold Team Canada scoreless over the final five innings.
Team USA Advances
With the win, Team USA joins the Dominican Republic as the two teams representing Pool C in San Diego. The United States has reached the second round in every World Baseball Classic, only making it further once in 2009 when they lost to Team Japan in the semifinals.