Yet, as draining as the night was, both teams must play again Sunday as the first round continues and possibly concludes.
Could anybody have watched that 3-2, 10-inning win over Colombia in Team USA’s World Baseball Classic opener and honestly questioned afterward what that game really meant to Team USA’s players?
Team USA finds itself in a do-or-die position after receiver Andrew Miller of the Cleveland Indians blew a two-run lead in the top of the eighth inning, surrendering a three run blast to Seattle Mariner Nelson Cruz as the Dominican Republic completed a comeback from 5-0 down as late as the sixth inning to shock the Americans with a final score of 7-5. Buster Posey hit a solo homer nearly in the same spot in the seventh and had three RBI.
The U.S. will start the next round on Wednesday in Pool F, held at Petco Park in San Diego.
The defending Classic champions jumped ahead 3-1 in the third inning when Jonathan Villar singled, stole second base and scored on a double by Manny Machado, who took third on a Cano ground out and scored on a fielding error by Colombian shortstop Donovan Solano.
Team USA will take on the Dominican Republic on Saturday at Marlins Park. The Dominican Republic was able to collect 7 runs and 10 hits compared to the USA’s 5 runs and 8 hits.
“You guys see the lineup, it’s unbelievable, ” says Toronto Blue Jays ace Marcus Stroman, who’ll start Saturday for the USA. It’s a fun environment. While I don’t remember the details of the game, I remember that the atmosphere was absolutely unreal. A trio of fans draped in the Stars Stripes and rocking inflatable guitars on the giant video board to AC/DC “You Shook Me All Night Long” before the US came to bat in the first inning set the tone.
Team USA was too numb afterward to really describe their emotions, only to be grateful they survived against Colombia, a team with only five players that are on major league 40-man rosters. The U.S. and Colombia were just one strike away from employing the global extra-inning rules, with the 11th inning and subsequent frames starting with runners on first and second.
Dempster had referred to his protracted initial frame as he struggled for command on Thursday against the D.R.as “Dempsteresque”, remarking that he had a lot of those in his 16-year career.
“The fans never give up, we never give up”, Cruz said on his postgame TV spot. He struck out two batters, and that included one to Carlos Santana with runners on the corners.
The next inning was not any better for Albers.
The offensive support was more than enough for Danny Duffy, who pitched four innings and combined with four relief pitchers on a four-hit shutout. Team Canada struck out 15 times, drew just one walk and had only four hits. The Dominicans have won 11 straight in the tournament.
Miller lost control of a pitch and hit Jose Bautista, the first batter he saw. Both players were ejected.
“For me, he was out”.
Archer said Saturday there was no further talk with Leyland or Jones about the issue, and “it didn’t tarnish it to me in any way”.