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Team USA Drops World Baseball Classic Opener to Mexico

March 9th, 2013 at 10:38 AM
By Cody Fields

Team USA came out flat in its World Baseball Classic debut at Chase Field Friday night against Mexico. R.A. Dickey gave up four runs in the 5-2 loss.

Dickey's famous knuckleball was flat in the strike zone, giving up four runs on six hits in four innings. Adrian Gonzalez particularly plagued him by driving in three runs – one on a groundout in the first inning and two more on a homer to right-center field in the third. That homer was review with instant replay and upheld.

"It's obviously not the outcome you were looking for, and you have to arrest the damage as soon as possible," Dickey said on mlb.com. "I wasn't as sharp. I felt pretty good in the 'pen. Just the consistency wasn't as good as I would've hoped for. The home run is really what hurt us. I left one up and Adrian hit it."

That put the Americans down 4-0, pretty much killing their crowd and igniting the Mexican crowd, which was essentially half of the 44,256 fans that showed up.

"It is what it is," U.S. shortstop Jimmy Rollins said. "I wouldn't say [the outcome] was shocking. Actually, the crowd was pretty neutral. Their fans had a lot to cheer about. We didn't really give our crowd a chance to stand up. They had a lot of noisemakers, and playing winter ball, you get used to that. It brings up the atmosphere. But it was like a home game for them because they went out in front from the beginning."

Yovani Gallardo set the tone for Mexico with 3 1/3 innings and four strikeouts, giving up one run on two hits. The lone run he gave up came in the fourth inning when David Wright drove in Rollins with a single.

Apart from that, the only notable thing for the Americans in the game was that Rollins' double in the seventh inning gave him 12 lifetime hits in the WBC, an American record.

"I had no idea about that," Rollins said. "Maybe that will change as other guys start catching up when we're in this thing long enough."

The loss sets up a must-win for the American squad, who faces a surprisingly 2-0 Italy team Saturday at 9 p.m. Italy controls their own destiny after beating Mexico and thrashing Canada 14-4.

That game can be seen on MLB Network and ESPN Deportes. Ryan Vogelsong will take the hill for Team USA.

 

photo credit: rwarrin via photopin cc

Tags: Adrian Gonzalez, Atlanta, Atlanta Braves, Jimmy Rollins, MLB, R.A. Dickey, World Baseball Classic, Yovani Gallardo

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