World Baseball Classic
Puerto Rico Routs United States, 11-1, in World Baseball Classic
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Jake Peavy lasted only two innings, and in the wake of a Classic blowout, Team USA could soon be gone, too.
Thanks to an embarrassing 11-1 loss to Puerto Rico last night in Miami that was stopped early because of the mercy rule, the Americans are once again on the ropes in the second round of the World Baseball Classic.
Carlos Beltrán and Felipe López homered, and Puerto Rico rocked Peavy for six runs to send the U.S. team into the loser's bracket. The Americans face the Netherlands in an elimination game tonight.
Javier Vázquez (2-0) allowed one run in five innings for Puerto Rico, which remained unbeaten through four games. Iván Rodríguez, playing in Miami for the first time since he helped the Marlins win the 2003 World Series, went 3 for 4 with two doubles and an RBI to raise his WBC batting average to .600.
Adding embarrassment to an ugly U.S. performance, the game ended in the seventh inning because of the tournament's 10-run rule.
"Everybody is embarrassed," shortstop Derek Jeter said. "But 2-1 or 11-1, we're still in the same position. You can't sit around and hang your head too long."
The Americans were eager to make amends for a humiliating eighth-place finish in the inaugural WBC three years ago, and they came into the tournament considered a strong contender for the title.
Puerto Rico advanced to a winner's bracket game tomorrow against Venezuela.
Manager Davey Johnson unexpectedly rejoined Team USA and watched with a grimace as the Americans quickly fell behind. He had been scheduled to miss the game for the wedding of his stepson in St. Petersburg, Fla., with bench coach Barry Larkin filling in as interim manager.
"The wedding got over a little early, and I had a plane standing by and I wanted to be here," Johnson said. "Maybe I should have stayed longer."
The crowd of 30,595 was evenly divided in its support, but Puerto Rico's fans had a lot more to cheer about. Jeter, Chipper Jones and Kevin Youklis went a combined 0 for 9 batting 2-3-4 for Team USA, and Mark DeRosa went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts.
DeRosa was a late fill-in for reigning American League MVP Dustin Pedroia, who was placed on the WBC disabled list for the second round because of a strained muscle on his left side. Pedroia will be replaced on Team USA's roster by second baseman Brian Roberts of the Orioles.