Adrian Gonzalez homered and drove in three runs, seven pitchers handcuffed United States hitters all night and Mexico rebounded from a disappointing opening loss with a decisive 5-2 win over the Americans in Pool D of the World Baseball Classic on Friday at Pheonix.
Coming off a last-inning loss to Italy, Mexico (1-1) tagged U.S. starter R.A. Dickey for four runs in the first three innings, including a two-run homer by Gonzalez in the third.
Yovani Gallardo got Mexico off to a good start with 3 1/3 solid innings and Luis Cruz had two RBIs to give a boisterous, pro-Mexico crowd of 44,256 plenty to cheer about at Chase Field.
Team USA (0-1) never recovered after Dickey’s early struggles, managing six singles among its eight hits while stranding eight runners in opening the WBC with a dud.
Team USA is stocked for a good run in this year’s tournament, trotting out a lineup that includes three former league MVPs – Ryan Braun, Joe Mauer and Jimmy Rollins – along with nine other players who have been major league All-Stars.
Hoping to get the tournament off to a good start, manager Joe Torre handed the ball to Dickey, the reigning N.L. Cy Young Award winner and the first knuckleballer to win the prize.
His opening game in the WBC didn’t go too well.
Gonzalez brought fans to their feet in the third inning with a two-run homer to the deepest part of the park, a towering shot above the pool deck in right-center that was upheld by a video review.
Around the tournament
Sho Tanaka drove in the winning run on a sacrifice fly in the top of the 10th inning to lift Japan past Taiwan 4-3 in a second-round game at Tokyo. … Jonathan Schoop hit a three-run homer to lead the Netherlands over Cuba 6-2 in a second-round game at Tokyo. Japan will face the Netherlands on Sunday. … Carlos Beltran’s RBI double keyed a three-run first inning and three Puerto Rico pitchers combined on a five-hitter in a 3-0 victory over Spain in a first-round game at San Juan, Puerto Rico. … Chris Colabello drove in four runs with four hits, including a three-run homer, and surprising Italy routed Canada 14-4 to improve to 2-0 in Group D competition in Phoenix.
Clearing the bases
The St. Louis Cardinals and Allen Craig have agreed on a five-year contract through 2017 with a club option for 2018. The 28-year-old Craig has 150 RBIs in 238 career games. He was sixth in the National League with a .307 average and 22 home runs last season and had 92 RBIs. … New York Mets pitching prospect Jenrry Mejia returned to camp Friday and can resume baseball activities after being diagnosed with a hyperactive thyroid gland.