PHOENIX — Adam Jones doubled in the tying and go-ahead runs in the eighth inning, Eric Hosmer hit a three-run double in the ninth and the United States beat Canada 9-4 on Sunday to advance to the second round of the World Baseball Classic.
Down to their last several outs, the U.S. trailed 3-2 after seven innings before breaking loose. Team USA and Italy advanced in Group D while Canada and Mexico were eliminated.
Jones and Hosmer both had a rough week at the plate but came through with the United States on the brink of what would have been a humbling loss. Jones’ hit was his second in nine at-bats. Hosmer was 3-for-13.
Gold Glove second baseman Brandon Phillips contributed, too, making a diving stop to prevent Canada from tying it in the eighth.
Heath Bell pitched a scoreless seventh to get the victory for manager Joe Torre‘s team. Jimmy Henderson took the loss.
Canada’s Michael Saunders, of the Seattle Mariners, hit a two-run homer off starter Derek Holland and was chosen the Group D MVP, going 8-for-11 in the tournament.
The United States finished group play tied with Italy at 2-1 but gets the No. 1 seed because of its 6-2 win over Italy. The U.S. meets the loser of Sunday’s Dominican Republic-Puerto Rico game Tuesday in Miami.
David Wright, whose grand slam lifted the U.S. past Italy Saturday night, doubled and walked three times. Ben Zobrist had three hits, none of which left the infield.
Canada, coming off a 10-3 win over Mexico that featured a bruising ninth-inning brawl, finished 1-2. The Canadians have not made it out of the first round of any of the three WBCs.
But they looked in great shape much of the afternoon against the United States, which was looking to avoid its worst showing ever in the tournament. The Americans made it to the second round in 2006 and the semifinals in 2009.
For the third straight game, the U.S. fell behind early.
Justin Morneau, who was 8-for-12 in the tournament for Canada, doubled to start the second, then Saunders hit Holland’s 1-0 pitch into the bullpen down the right field line to make it 2-0.
The U.S. tied it with two runs in the fourth, one unearned.
Joe Mauer led off with a single and Wright walked. Zobrist put down a near-perfect bunt for a base hit, with third baseman Taylor Green throwing wildly to first and allowing a run to score. Jones’ sacrifice fly to center brought in the tying run.
Green, playing third for Canada because Brett Lawrie was hurt just before the WBC began, also had an error in the second when he dropped Zobrist’s high pop fly ball in the bright sunlight.
Canada regained the lead at 3-2 in the sixth. Joey Votto drew a leadoff walk from reliever Glen Perkins and took second on Morneau’s single. Saunders struck out looking and Chris Robinson flied out, advancing the runner to third. Adam Loewen‘s first-pitch single brought Votto home.
Mauer opened the eighth with a single, then Wright walked. Torre made an aggressive move when, with Willie Bloomquist pinch running for Mauer, he sent both runners moving on Henderson’s 1-2 pitch to Jones. Jones connected, bringing both runners home. Shane Victorino singled Jones home to make it 5-3.
Canada made it a one-run game in its half of the eighth but would have tied it had it not been for a spectacular defensive play by Phillips. His diving stop of Loewen’s bases-loaded grounder allowed one run to score, but kept the U.S. in the lead.
The U.S. broke it open off Scott Matheson and closer John Axford in the ninth.
Phillips started it with a double. Jonathan Lucroy had an RBI single, then Wright walked once again. Axford came on and allowed the infield single to Zobrist. Jones struck out but Hosmer, a late addition to the team when Matt Teixeira was injured, cleared the bases with a shot to deep center.
Torre benched Miami’s dynamic young slugger Giancarlo Stanton in favor of Victorino in left field. He also moved Ryan Braun to designated hitter and put Zobrist in right. Mauer, the DH in the first two games, was the catcher. Stanton was hitless in the first two games, although he did have a pair of deep fly balls in the opening loss to Mexico.
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