U.S. rallies for 5-4 victory over Canada
Duensing hurls 3.1 scoreless innings of relief to get the win
Left-handed reliever Brian Duensing (Marysville, Kan.) hurled 3 1/3 scoreless innings of relief and retired 10 of the 11 batters he faced to pick up the win. The U.S. is 2-2 in Olympic competition with Canada's record falling to 1-3. The U.S. will get a day off and return to action on Monday evening (Aug. 18) at the Wukesong Main Field to face host China with first pitch set for 7 p.m. local time (7 a.m. EDT).
With the U.S. trailing, 4-3, Canada loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the sixth inning. Duensing came in for starter Brett Anderson (Midland, Texas) looking to keep the Red, White & Blue in the ballgame. Canada's Adam Stern worked to a full count before Duensing was able to strike him out looking to end the inning and keep the U.S. within reach.
"It was a pretty tough situation," said Duensing. "I am not accustomed to relieving. Coming in, Stern is a pretty fast guy and a lot of their lefties were taking some pitches to left field. We were pitching them out a lot and I was just trying to keep him off balance by throwing a slider and something hard outside. Fortunately on that last pitch, I froze him with that slider."
After failing to plate a run in the bottom of the sixth, the U.S. completed the comeback in the bottom of the seventh inning. Lou Marson (Scottsdale, Ariz.) led off with a walk and then was sacrificed to second base by Jason Donald (Fresno, Calif.). With two outs and Marson still on second, Barden lined a double into the left field corner off reliever Chris Reitsma to tie the game. Trying to stop the U.S. rally, the Canadians went to the bullpen one more time bringing in former MLB pitcher and veteran left-hander Rheal Cormier. Into the batter's box stepped Tiffee, who stroked a double into left center scoring Barden and giving Team USA a one-run lead.
The cushion would be enough for Duensing, who retired the Canadians in order in the eighth and on just one hit in the ninth. The ninth inning wasn't without its tense moments though, as Stubby Clapp came close to tying the game. With two outs and a runner on first base, Clapp ripped a 3-2 pitch from Duensing down the right field line only to see the ball hook just foul. Duensing then ended the game for the U.S. as he forced Clapp into flying out to left field to secure a USA win.
Barden, Tiffee and John Gall (Stanford, Calif.) all had two hits to lead the U.S. Chris Robinson went 3-for-4 to lead the Canadians at the plate.
Canada broke ahead, 1-0, in the top of the second inning. Nick Weglarz reached base on a one-out single and scored all the way from first on a double to left field by Emerson Frostad. Frostad knocked a 3-2 pitch from Anderson over the head of left fielder Matt LaPorta (Port Charlotte, Fla.) and off the wall to score Weglarz.
That lead increased to 3-0 in the third inning when Clapp singled with one out and scored on an RBI triple to right-center off the bat of Emmanuel Garcia. Garcia would cross home plate with the third run courtesy of Michael Saunders' RBI groundout.
A USA miscue would lead to a fourth run for Canada in the top of the fourth. Matt Rogelstad reached base on a throwing error by shortstop Jason Donald. After advancing to third on a hit and run single from Chris Robinson, Rogelstad would score on Stern's RBI basehit.
The U.S. cut the deficit to two runs in the fourth inning scoring a pair against the Canadians and knocking Canada starter James Avery from the game. Barden recorded a solo home run to right field to open the fourth with Gall adding a two-out RBI basehit to score Nate Schierholtz (Danville, Calif.).
After Anderson retired Canada in order in the top of the fifth, the U.S. crept to within one run in the bottom half as a two-out double from Tiffee scored Dexter Fowler (Atlanta, Ga.). Tiffee's ball went off the wall in left-center, just missing a home run. Tiffee is 8-for-16 (.500) in the first four games of the Olympics to lead the USA in hitting. He also owns a team-high five doubles.
Three of the four games Team USA has played have been decided by one run. For the remainder of the tournament, the U.S. will also be without the services of infielder Jayson Nix (Dallas, Texas), who was hurt in Friday's game versus Cuba after he fouled a bunt attempt into his left eye.
"Mr. Nix sustained a laceration to the left upper eyebrow," said Dr. William Kuprevich, Chief Medical Officer of the U.S. Olympic Team. "His injury was evaluated with a CAT scan and a detailed eye exam. The laceration was repaired and he was treated with eye drops and rest. He will not return to play during the Games."
"Losing Jayson [Nix to injury yesterday] was a tough blow," said manager Davey Johnson. "The club was a little down, but [this team] has had a lot of character. We came back against Korea and we were down against Cuba and came back. We've been in position to win every ballgame. Today was a must win. We just had to win, or we pretty much would have been eliminated."