Rally Saves U.S.’s Bacon
United States' Adam Jones (10) celebrates his run scored against Canada with teammate Jimmy Rollins (11) in the eighth inning of a World Baseball Classic baseball game on Sunday, March 10, 2013, in Phoenix. The United States defeated Canada 9-4. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Phoenix — Adam Jones doubled in the tying and go-ahead runs in the eighth inning, Eric Hosmer hit a three-run double in the ninth and the United States beat Canada 9-4 yesterday to advance to the second round of the World Baseball Classic.
Down to their last several outs, the U.S. trailed 3-2 after seven innings before breaking loose. Team USA and Italy advanced in Group D while Canada and Mexico were eliminated.
Jones and Hosmer both had a rough week at the plate but came through with the United States on the brink of what would have been a humbling loss. Jones’ hit was his second in nine at-bats. Hosmer was 3-for-13.
Gold Glove second baseman Brandon Phillips contributed, too, making a diving stop to prevent Canada from tying it in the eighth.
Heath Bell pitched a scoreless seventh to get the victory for manager Joe Torre’s team. Jimmy Henderson took the loss.
Canada’s Michael Saunders, of the Seattle Mariners, hit a two-run homer off starter Derek Holland and was chosen the Group D MVP, going 8 for 11 in the tournament.
The United States finished group play tied with Italy at 2-1 but gets the No. 1 seed because of its 6-2 win over Italy. The U.S. meets the loser of last night’s Dominican Republic-Puerto Rico game tomorrow in Miami.
David Wright, whose grand slam lifted the U.S. past Italy on Saturday night, doubled and walked three times. Ben Zobrist had three hits, none of which left the infield.
For the third straight game, the U.S. fell behind early.
Justin Morneau, who was 8-for-12 in the tournament for Canada, doubled to start the second, then Saunders hit Holland’s 1-0 pitch into the bullpen down the right field line to make it 2-0.
The U.S. tied it with two runs in the fourth, one unearned.
Ortiz Shut Down; Red Sox Win
Port Charlotte, Fla. — David Ortiz will be shut down for several days of spring training because of sore left heel, and the Boston Red Sox are hoping the break from baseball activities won’t prevent the slugging designated hitter from being ready for opening day.
Manager John Farrell made the announcement after yesterday’s 6-2 exhibition victory over the Tampa Bay Rays. He expects Ortiz to be out for five to seven days because of inflammation revealed by MRI tests.
The manager stopped short of calling it a setback for the eight-time All-Star, who is still making his way back from a strained right Achilles tendon that limited him to 90 games last season.
“Compared to where he was a year ago, we feel like there’s progress being made. There’s no question about that,” Farrell said. “Yet he’s dealing we an issue, and we’ve got to give it time to clear up.”
David Ross hit a three-run homer off Tampa Bay starter Matt Moore, and John Lackey allowed two runs and four hits in 3 2-3 innings to pace yesterday’s victory.
Jeremy Hazelbaker and Pedro Ciriaco also drove in runs for the Red Sox.
Yunel Escobar had an RBI infield single and Evan Longoria added a sacrifice fly off Lackey.
Meanwhile, Rays owner Stuart Sternberg arrived in camp and commented on several topics, including David Price’s future, sagging attendance and his expectations for the upcoming season.
“I feel really good,” Sternberg said about several offseason moves aimed at improving a roster that won 90 games, yet finished third in the AL East last season. “We left no stone unturned. We had a plan coming in when the offseason started and I think we nailed it pretty well.”
Besides acquiring Escobar in a trade, the Rays also signed first baseman James Loney and second baseman Kelly Johnson to shore up the infield. Pitchers James Shields and Wade Davis were dealt to Kansas City in a deal that brought the Rays several highly regarded minor league prospects, including outfielder Wil Myers.
Poor attendance remains a sore point, but Sternberg wasn’t complaining Sunday, when he noted the team’s payroll of just over $60 million remains higher than it should be for a team that drew a major league-low 1,559,681 to Tropicana Field in 2012.
Nevertheless, the owner said it’s not totally out of the question that the Rays could find a way to sign Price, the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner, to a long-term contract.
Executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman previously “said, and correctly, there’s no question we could handle a contract like David’s. But what are you going to be able to put around him?” Sternberg said, declining to speculate on what the team eventually will do with Price, who’s set to earn $10.125 million this season.
“Right now, and correctly, David is focused on this season. We’re focused on this season, and I think speculatively it really is way too early for people to be focused on what’s three or four years from now,” Sternberg said. “But obviously David is an enormous part of this organization, and has been so throughout all the success.”