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Saturday, March 07, 2009

Power Battle Ends With United States Victorious

When Shane Victorino gloved the fly ball from the bat of Jason Bay, Team USA could finally move on from the embarrassing 8-6 upset that Canada pulled off back in the 2006 Classic. Team USA scored all six of their runs on the strength of three homers and held on for a 6-5 victory.

Jake Peavy started for the United States and wasn't particularly sharp. In three innings, he walked three batters and allowed two runs, including a solo shot by DH Joey Votto. He left the game trailing 2-1.

Kevin Youkilis led off the bottom of the fourth for Team USA with a solo home run off of Canada starter Mike Johnson. After Adam Dunn walked and Ryan Braun struck out, Brian McCann launched a two-run homer to right that gave Team USA a 4-2 lead.

Canada countered in the top of the sixth when Jason Bay coaxed a walk out of new pitcher Joel Hanrahan to lead off the inning and Mark Teahen doubled him to third. Bay then scored on a wild pitch by Hanrahan. In the bottom of the inning, Youkilis led off with a walk and Adam Dunn followed by crushing a breaking ball into the left-center field stands, putting the United States up 6-3. Canada countered in the top of the seventh off of Scot Shields when Russell Martin lined a home run over the left field wall. Canada stranded two runners in that inning, though.

The United States left the bases loaded in the seventh and eighth innings, setting the stage for the ninth. J. J. Putz, the Mets' set-up man, was sent in to close the game. He got pinch-hitter Adam Stern to ground out to deep short. Jimmy Rollins uncorked a very strong throw to get Stern at first by a half-step. Martin then followed with a double off the top of the wall in left-center. Votto then doubled over Victorino's head to drive in Martin. On the very next pitch, Justin Morneau grounded sharply to Rollins for the second out. After seven pitches and two balls fouled off, Bay flied out to Victorino in right to end the game.

Team USA plays Venezuela tonight in Game 3 of Pool C.

W - LaTroy Hawkins (1-0)
L - Mike Johnson (0-1)
S - J. J. Putz (1)
HR - CAN - Joey Votto (1)
Russell Martin (1)
USA - Kevin Youkilis (1)
Brian McCann (1)
Adam Dunn (1)


DH Joey Votto, Canada - 4-5, 2B, HR, R, 2 RBI

1B Kevin Youkilis, United States - 1-2, HR, 3 R, 2 BB, RBI

C Brian McCann, United States - 1-2, HR, R, BB, SF , 3 RBI

EDIT: Added link to game box score.

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