Team USA Defeats South Korea And Venezuela; Mercer Homers
USA 3, South Korea 1
Three US pitchers combined to hold South Korea to just one run on 4 hits this afternoon in World Cub/Pan Am tournament Second Round play. Matt Shoemaker (Angels) made the start for the US and hurled 5 shutout innings. He allowed just a double over the first 4 of those innings. In the 5th, with two outs, Shoemaker gave up a single and a walk, but ended the inning with a fly out.
Team USA got off to a solid start with a run in the top of the 1st. RF Brett Jackson (Cubs) opened the game with a single into left field, then stole second base. He scored on DH Joe Thurston’s (Marlins) RBI single into right. 3B Tommy Mendonca (Rangers) and CF Jordan Danks (White Sox) led off the top of the 2nd with back-to-back singles, moving Mendonca to third. 2B Andrew Garcia walked to load the bases with one out, then Jackson brought in Mendonca with a sacrifice fly.
That 2-0 lead lasted until the bottom of the 6th. Royce Ring (Red Sox) relieved Shoemaker to begin the inning. Ring faced just 2 batters, allowing a single and a double to put two Korean runners into scoring position. Ring was pulled in favor of Pete Andrelczyk (Marlins), who got the first batter he faced to ground out to first base — which allowed the runner from third to score, charged to Ring. The next batter grounded to short, where Pirates’ SS Jordy Mercer fired back to the plate, in time for C Tuffy Gosewisch (Phillies) to tag out the runner trying to score from third. Andrelczyk finished the 6th with a strikeout, and then pitched a scoreless bottom of the 7th, including a walk.
Team USA added one more run in the top of the 7th. AJ Pollock (Diamondbacks) singled into left, the moved to second base on Mercer’s grounder to short, ruled a fielder’s choice and an error on the Korean shortstop. Pollock scored on 1B Matt Clark’s (Padres) single into center field.
This was a 7-inning game because Team USA is playing a double-header today.
USA 7, Venezuela 4
This was the make-up for the rained out game earlier in the week, and it was also scheduled for just 7 innings.
Venezuela scored 4 runs, one at a time over 5 innings, of US starter and former Pirate farmhand Todd Redmond. The first run was a solo homer in the bottom of the 1st. The second run was unearned — a double and an error by Redmond in the 3rd inning. Two more solo homers came in the 4th and the 5th.
Team USA put one run onto the scoreboard in the top of the 4th, on three singles, by DH Matt Clark , 3B Tommy Mendonca, and RF Brett Carroll (Red Sox). They could not take advantage of base runners in the next two innings, though, and went into the top of the 7th trailing 4-1.
That’s when Team USA exploded for 6 runs. CF Jordan Danks and LF AJ Pollock led off with a pair of walks. 2B Joe Thurston loaded the bases with a single. 1B Chad Tracy (Rangers) drove in Danks with an RBI single, then Clark tied the score with another single which brought in Pollock and Thurston. That brought up SS Jordy Mercer, who gave Team USA the lead with a 3-run homer.
Reliever Justin Cassell (White Sox) pitched the 6th inning for the US. He surrendered singles to the first two batters he faced, then both base runners advanced with a double steal. A fly out had the runner on third tagging up and heading for the plate, but an excellent throw from Carroll in center field to C Tuffy Gosewisch gunned down the runner at the plate. Another fly out ended the inning. After Team USA took the win, Scott Patterson (Mariners) earned a Save with a perfect inning in the bottom of the 7th.
Team USA has a 3-1 record in Second Round play, and a 4-3 win in the overall standings for Round Two (which includes games played against these teams in the first round). Canada also has a 4-3 record, while Cuba and the Netherlands are both 5-1 with one more game for each team to play tonight.