Mexico upset US in 5-2 WBC victory
AFPPHOENIX, Arizona--Adrian Gonzalez blasted a home run and drove in three runs as Mexico shocked the United States 5-2 on Friday in a stunning first-round upset at the World Baseball Classic.
March 10, 2013, 12:13 am TWN
Los Angeles Dodgers slugger Gonzalez hit a two-run homer in the third inning plus a run-scoring ground out while Luis Cruz hit two run-scoring sacrifice fly outs to provide all the runs Mexico needed.
“I was just looking for something I could hit,” Gonzalez said. “I was just able to stay on that pitch and luckily the ball went out.
Mexican pitchers baffled a star-studded U.S. lineup, scattering eight hits while striking out 10, with right-hander Yovani Gallardo striking out four U.S. batters over 3 1/3 innings and Luis Mendoza striking out threee in two innings.
“The pitching staff was amazing for us,” Gonzalez said. “To hold the U.S. to two runs is unbelievable.”
Mexican pitchers silenced a formidable U.S. batting lineup, the Americans not managing an extra-base hit until Jimmy Rollins hit a two-out double in the seventh.
The Americans were a disappointment in the first two Classics, going out in the second round in 2006 and the semi-finals in 2009, but more was expected of this year's lineup, the last of 16 teams to play a Classic opener this year.
Mexico needed the triumph after squandering a ninth-inning lead in a 6-5 loss Thursday to Italy.
The upstart Italians ripped Canada 14-4 on Friday to stand 2-0 in first round Group D with the European champions set to face the Americans on Saturday while Mexico meets Canada. A U.S.-Canada game Sunday completes round-robin play.
“We've got to come out hard again tomorrow and play like we have to win,” Gonzalez said. “There's no breathing room.”
Friday's other game saw Group C host Puerto Rico blank Spain 3-0. Two teams from Group C will join two from Group D in next week's second round at Miami.
U.S. starting pitcher R.A. Dickey, a knuckleballer who was voted the National League's top hurler, surrendered four runs on six hits over four innings. He gave up only four first-inning runs all of last season but allowed Mexico two.
Eduardo Arredondo singled, took third on Ramiro Pena's double and scored on a sacrifice fly by Cruz. Pena then scored on a Gonzalez ground out.
Gonzalez tagged Dickey for the homer to centerfield with two outs in the third inning to give Mexico a 4-0 lead.
David Wright's run-scoring single in the fourth inning put the Americans on the scoreboard but Mexico answered in the fifth, Arredondo scoring on another Cruz sacrifice fly to put Mexico ahead 5-1.
Eric Hosmer, who replaced injured New York Yankees star Mark Teixeira in the U.S. lineup, singled in a run to pull the Americans closer.
But Mexico closing relief pitcher Sergio Romo struck out Adam Jones and induced ground outs from Jonathon Lucroy and Rollins in the ninth inning to complete the victory.