USA falls to Puerto Rico, 8-4 (10 inn.)
U.S. loses second consecutive World Cup opener
PANAMA CITY, Panama -- The USA Baseball World Cup/Pan Am Team (0-1) lost to Puerto Rico (1-1), 8-4, in 10 innings, Monday night in its World Cup opener in Panama.
The two teams entered the 10th inning tied, 4-4, and under the international extra-inning tie-breaker rule, Puerto Rico's Luis Figueroa launched a grand slam to left off closer Randy Williams (0-1) in the away half of the frame to put the game away.
Team USA struggled offensively for much of the night, striking out 14 times and leaving 18 men on base. Puerto Rico starter Julio Rodriguez (1-0) stymied the U.S. for 4 1/3 innings, only allowing one hit while striking out seven.
U.S. starter Todd Redmond started his second straight USA Baseball Professional Team opener (2010 Pan Am Qualifying Tournament). The Team USA veteran had a shaky first inning, allowing three runs on three hits, but he settled in, giving up only one more hit over the next five frames.
After five scoreless innings, the U.S. offense awoke in the sixth inning, as Joe Thurston hit a bases loaded single down the right field line, scoring Jordan Danks and Tommy Mendonca, bringing Team USA to within one at 3-2. The two teams traded zeros in the seventh and eighth innings, but in the top of the ninth, Puerto Rico jumped out ahead again, 4-2, behind a Jesus Feliciano RBI single.
In the bottom of the ninth, the U.S. mounted a comeback, tying the score at four to push the game to extras. Travis d'Arnaud slapped an RBI-double to right center and Jordy Mercer knocked in a run on a bases loaded fielder's choice to third base.
In the 10th, Team USA couldn't match Puerto Rico's heroics, stranding the runners it started the inning with on first and second, and going down quietly in a 1-2-3 inning.
Thurston and d'Arnaud led the red, white and blue with two hits apiece, while knocking in two and one, respectively.
As Internet is available, live scoring for all U.S. games will be available at USABaseball.com, the online home for USA Baseball. Please visit the site for schedule and roster information, tournament updates and more. Live updates can also be found on Twitter at @USABaseball. Overall tournament information can be found here.
NOTES: Rodriguez held Team USA hitless into the 4th inning, striking out seven, while yielding only one hit -- a single to U.S. designated hitter Chad Tracy...Thurston went 2-for-5 with a walk, two RBIs and a stolen base in his Team USA debut...Mendonca saw his 24-game Team USA win streak come to an end -- he was a member of the 2008 Collegiate National Team that won 24 straight games that summer...Redmond saw his five-game winning-streak in USA tournament play come to an end; he was 3-0 at the 2009 IBAF World Cup and 2-0 at the 2010 Pan American Qualifying Tournament...Team USA dropped its second consecutive IBAF World Cup opener -- in 2009, the U.S. lost to Venezuela, 13-9, in 11-innings in the opening game...the U.S. went onto win 14-straight on its way to the gold medal...The IBAF extra-inning tie-break run was entered into play in the 10th inning. The rule states that teams will start at any point they choose in the batting order with runners placed at first and second base and no outs.