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Gio Gonzalez pitches brilliantly and David Wright drives in five as USA defeats Puerto Rico

Mar 12, 2013, 11:29 PM EDT

gio gonzalez usa getty Getty Images

Gio Gonzalez was in mid-season form and David Wright continued his recent run of heroics as Team USA topped a punchless Puerto Rico squad 7-1 on Tuesday night at Marlins Park in Little Havana.

Gonzalez went five scoreless innings, allowing only three hits, walking none and fanning five. His fastball hit 93-94 mph consistently and his curve looked as sharp as it did throughout his dominant 2012 major league campaign with the Nationals. The Miami native threw 48 of his 69 pitches for strikes (the pitch-limit in the second round of the WBC is 80).

Wright plated a run on a groundout in the bottom of the third inning, added an RBI single with the bases loaded in the fifth inning and slugged a double to deep right-center with the bases loaded in the eighth inning, scoring more three runs. “Captain America,” as MLB Network play-by-play man Matt Vasgersian has taken to calling him, now boasts 10 RBI in just four 2013 World Baseball Classic games. Joe Mauer drew three walks and drove home a run with a double to left-center in the first inning and Adam Jones added a tally on a single up the middle in the seventh.

The defense from Team USA was sharp all around. As was the bullpen, with Jeremy Affeldt throwing a scoreless sixth and Vinnie Pestano tossing a scoreless seventh. Puerto Rico’s Jesus Feliciano was hit by a Steve Cishek pitch in the eighth inning and came around to score after Eddie Rosario doubled and Angel Pagan hit into a fielder’s choice groundout. But that was the only run that Puerto Rico could muster.

Team USA will face the Dominican Republic on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. ET for a berth into the WBC’s four-team Championship Round, which will be hosted at San Francisco’s AT&T Park from March 17-19. Puerto Rico will take on Italy in a winner-stays-alive game on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. ET in Miami. It’s all on MLB Network.

32,872 fans showed up to Tuesday night’s game. Marlins Park averaged 27,401 fans per game in 2012.

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  1. chill1184 - Mar 12, 2013 at 11:32 PM

    ‘Murica!

    • abaird2012 - Mar 13, 2013 at 8:42 AM

      Fuck, yeah!!

  2. bancacentral - Mar 12, 2013 at 11:49 PM

    We got DR vs. USA at last. Since the creation of the WBC this is the match-up everyone is waiting for.

    • blacksables - Mar 13, 2013 at 2:34 PM

      No its not.

  3. dondada10 - Mar 13, 2013 at 12:09 AM

    Save some for the Summer, David.

    • historiophiliac - Mar 13, 2013 at 7:44 AM

      What, you’re not enjoying the Captain America meme?

  4. andreweac - Mar 13, 2013 at 12:16 AM

    Miami might draw more fans in the WBC than the Marlins will for the entire months of August and September combined. What’s that? Alright, alright!!!

    July, August and September combined.

    • Chris Fiorentino - Mar 13, 2013 at 7:42 AM

      And it would have been that way whether the owner had kept the $100 million payroll or not. It’s just not a baseball town. If they charged a $50 cover and had people line-up outside with a bouncer and played club music and dubbstep all night, with scantily-clad women dancing in cages and serving cocktails out behind the center field wall, they would probably do much better.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 13, 2013 at 7:46 AM

        Hey, hey, hey, we don’t need to know all that about you.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Mar 13, 2013 at 7:51 AM

        That’s not me even a little…that’s Miami or at least the Miami I saw for the night that I drove around looking for something to do that didn’t include a club when I went to Fort Lauderdale one weekend. Loved the beach in Fort Lauderdale but the entire Miami scene was just completely phony to me.

  5. natslady - Mar 13, 2013 at 12:58 AM

    Nats pitchers (Gio and Ross Detwiler) = 9 scoreless innings! Yah! Look out!

  6. goofylupie - Mar 13, 2013 at 1:00 AM

    team USA has the WRIGHT stuff! Go David but remember, when you come back to our Mets, to keep it up!

    Team USA is acting like a team and encouraging each other with every offensive and defensive contribution these players make. That is a winning combination! This has been an exciting WBC all the way around.

  7. Chris Fiorentino - Mar 13, 2013 at 7:39 AM

    I watched some of this game as there wasn’t much else on last night. Can Joe Torre have any less personality? I mean Larry Bowa is excited, talking, cheering, and he says to Torre “That Wright is some player, huh?” and Torre just grunts. He looks like an old curmudgeon sitting there.

  8. janessa31888 - Mar 13, 2013 at 8:15 AM

    Way to go, team USA! Glad one of the members of our bullpen mafia is contributing. Great job, Vinnie!

  9. proudlycanadian - Mar 13, 2013 at 8:22 AM

    Congratulations to the USA team.

  10. albertmn - Mar 13, 2013 at 9:10 AM

    Maybe a stupid question, but I don’t know my politics or geography that well. Isn’t Puerto Rico a territory of the US? As such, are they still their own country or part of the US?

    • kopy - Mar 13, 2013 at 10:33 AM

      Well, they’re part of the US, but they get their own international sports teams.

      Kind of like how the UK is “GBR” at the Olympics, but then England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland get their own international soccer teams for the World Cup. Some things you just get to decide how you want to be represented, and Puerto Rico and USA decided to stay separated for sports.

    • jwbiii - Mar 13, 2013 at 10:59 AM

      Guam, Palau, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands also have their own baseball federations and have competed in international tournaments.

  11. psousa1 - Mar 13, 2013 at 9:12 AM

    Despite this being really good baseball to watch so early on – great games, great drama aren’t we supposed to say how offended we are by the WBC? Or is that just the esclusive job of baseball writers?

    Quoting ‘unnamed’ (made up) sources and loathing of the WBC. Isn’t that a baseball writer’s job?

  12. psousa1 - Mar 13, 2013 at 9:13 AM

    Typo – ‘exclusive’

  13. cardsfanandi - Mar 13, 2013 at 10:56 AM

    Gotta admit…I’m pretty excited for the USA vs DR game. The US is pretty on fire right now, and the DR team looks like they’re having so much fun. It’s hard not to get caught up in that. Heck, I was cheering on Puerto Rico the other night when they played each other, and by the end of the game all that ‘shooting the stars’ stuff they did as they were cheering each other on had me pulling for them to win. Dare I say it? I like the WBC. It’s sort of like the ASG, but it actually means something to the players.

  14. thebadguyswon - Mar 13, 2013 at 11:24 AM

    Its so enjoyable watching Wright surrounded by a good team.

  15. southpaw77 - Mar 13, 2013 at 1:23 PM

    Surprised Gonzalez didnt pitch for some latin team like all the others have. With their loose rules seems though all you need is some family member born in another country in the last 100 years and you can play for them. Gio could have easily played for team Cuba but kept it real and repped the USA.

    Hope USA and PR both get to the final 4 in San Fran and one of them knocks off Japan already. Dont care for the final 4 format, it should be double elimination also not one and done.

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