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Puerto Rico boots the U.S. out of the World Baseball Classic

Mar 15, 2013, 10:36 PM EDT

Nelson Figueroa AP

Puerto Rico starter Nelson Figueroa was in top form in an elimination game tonight against the United States. The well-traveled right-hander tossed six shut-out innings, holding the opposition to four base runners on two hits, one walk, and one error. He was staked to an early 1-0 lead when Mike Aviles hit a two-out RBI single to right in the top of the first, setting the tone.

U.S. starter Ryan Vogelsong was otherwise solid through five and two-third innings, allowing one runner on a walk in the sixth before being taken out in favor of reliever Vinnie Pestano. It was not Pestano’s night. He immediately surrendered a single to Aviles, then walked Alex Rios to load the bases. No matter what he did, he could not find the strike zone. He walked Carlos Rivera to force in a run, bolstering Puerto Rico’s lead to 2-0. Andy Gonzalez put the exclamation point on the offensive surge with a two-out, two-run double to left, chasing Pestano in the process. Jeremy Affeldt came in to get the final out of the inning, but it was too late.

With Figueroa out of the game in the bottom of the seventh, the U.S. finally got on the board against reliever Giovanni Soto. Joe Mauer tripled with one out and was promptly plated on a Giancarlo Stanton single to left. Adam Jones struck out looking — on a questionable judgment by home plate umpire Mark Wegner, it should be noted — representing the tying run with runners on first and second and two outs to end the threat.

The U.S. wouldn’t go down without a fight. Against Jose De La Torre, the U.S. strung together three consecutive hits — two singles and a double — to bring the score to 4-2. Xavier Cedeno came in to relieve De La Torre and walked Joe Mauer before being quickly lifted. The right-handed Fernando Cabrera came on for the favorable platoon match-up against Stanton and got him to pop up, preventing any runner advancement. However, he then walked Zobrist to force in a run and bring the game to 4-3. Puerto Rico brought in its fourth pitcher of the inning, lefty J.C. Romero. Romero got Eric Hosmer to ground out, squelching the threat at long last.

Romero came back out for the ninth, striking out Adam Jones and Shane Victorino, and getting Jimmy Rollins to fly out to center field to seal the 4-3 victory for Puerto Rico.

With the loss, the U.S. is eliminated from the Classic. The win keeps Puerto Rico’s hopes alive as they will play the Dominican Republic at 1 PM EST tomorrow for the right to play the Netherlands in the semifinals at AT&T Park in San Francisco on March 18.

  1. thebadguyswon - Mar 15, 2013 at 10:45 PM

    Pathetic. 10-10 all time. Maybe someday the best players will all play. Probably not…the US doesnt give a shit.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Mar 16, 2013 at 3:48 AM

      This really reminds me of the World Hockey Championship because Canada should run away with that thing every year but they rarely do. Other countries want it more and that’s awesome to watch. Even better than my team dominating like they should.

      Stacked teams falling will certainly drum up interest for this tourny and I hope that’s what happens over the next few years. I haven’t been watching much of it but that’s about to change.

  2. fearthehoody - Mar 15, 2013 at 10:52 PM

    Ahhhh! You mean I have to wait 4 more years to watch a USA JV Team????

  3. thebadguyswon - Mar 15, 2013 at 10:58 PM

    Why couldn’t we have this?

    Trout CF
    Rollins SS
    Stanton RF
    Braun LF
    Fielder 1B
    Wright 3B
    Posey C
    Kinsler 2B

    SP Verlander
    SP Kershaw
    SP Dickey
    SP Gonzalez
    RP Kimbrel
    RP Papelbon
    RP Nathan
    RP Holland

    • Jackson - Mar 15, 2013 at 11:17 PM

      The hindsight is 20/20 here. People want the US to win and claim the reason is because we don’t have the best players. On the other hand, if a superstar player were to suffer and injury that costs him the season, then the fans of that player’s respective team will put a big stink about how the WBC is pointless and players should be more focused on spring training, getting ready for the regular season and winning a world series.

    • joerymi - Mar 16, 2013 at 1:45 AM

      I am of the opinion that even with a US dream team at the WBC, few would care in the United States. If MLB took an NHL style olympic break (will never happen), then people might give a damn.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Mar 16, 2013 at 3:53 AM

      …..because I’m not sure what league Rollins is a #2 hitter in, and I dont’ think anybody else here can provide an answer. That’s why.

      Also, even with that lineup, I bet they lose. As long as this tourny is of minimal significance none of the big dogs aka the USA will play up to their potential. It’s a Spring Training alternative to them.

  4. mudhead123 - Mar 15, 2013 at 11:09 PM

    Holland and Nathan are no where near top pitchers. Rangers fan alert

    • nobby821 - Mar 16, 2013 at 12:28 AM

      Haha yeah and no Price or Hernadez

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Mar 16, 2013 at 3:57 AM

        Right, because Hernadez (Hernandez?) wouldn’t want to rep Venezuela and pitch in front of plugs like Miggy Cabrera.

  5. ironman721 - Mar 15, 2013 at 11:13 PM

    And now the ratings drop through the floor.

    • jwbiii - Mar 16, 2013 at 11:39 AM

      No. The US tv market for the WBC is fairly modest.

      The Japanese are another story.

  6. goskinsvt - Mar 15, 2013 at 11:17 PM

    That Adam Jones strike 3 call has me on life tilt.

    • blacksables - Mar 16, 2013 at 7:20 AM

      Because that one pitch affected the game more than the 300+ other pitches thrown?

  7. 13arod - Mar 15, 2013 at 11:33 PM

    You know that stanton is from puerto rico so he could have played for them

    • schlom - Mar 15, 2013 at 11:35 PM

      That’s not true, he was born in Southern California. His mother is Puerto Rican so he could have played for them if he wanted but he is from the US (although not like the PR players aren’t either).

      • The Dangerous Mabry - Mar 16, 2013 at 12:18 AM

        Exactly. From the article above:

        ..He was staked to an early 1-0 lead when Mike Aviles hit a two-out RBI single to right in the top of the first…

        That’s Mike Aviles from New York, NY.

        …He immediately surrendered a single to Aviles, then walked Alex Rios to load the bases….

        The very same Alex Rios born in Coffee, AL.

        And of course we all know that Adrian Gonzalez from San Diego whooped up on the USA while playing for Mexico.

        The very nature of the USA (a nation of immigrants) means that a lot of Americans self-identify as something other than American, and therefore don’t play for the States.

      • The Dangerous Mabry - Mar 16, 2013 at 8:24 AM

        Oh right. And the US squad was shut down by Nelson Figueroa. From Brooklyn

      • edmata - Mar 16, 2013 at 12:31 PM

        The difference between Stanton and Avile, Figueroa, and Adrian is that unlike Stanton, the other three players; both parents aren’t from the US. Aviles’s, and Figueroa’s mom and dad are from P.R. Adrian’s mom and dad are from mexico. Only Stanton’s mom is from P.R + Stanton was born and raise in the US, so that basically makes him more of a “American” than “Puerto Rican”.

  8. schlom - Mar 15, 2013 at 11:42 PM

    Why in the world didn’t Torre pinch-hit for Hosmer in the 8th inning with the bases loaded? Hosmer is one of the worst batters in baseball against left-handed pitching – ranking 216th of 227 batters with over 200 PA’s against lefties since he’s been in the majors ( Pretty much any right-handed hitter would have been better in that spot.

    I think the only person with a worse WBC than Torre was Angel Hernandez. Torre used Bloomquist when he shouldn’t have (to start against the DR) and then doesn’t use him when he should have (to PH for Hosmer).

    • indaburg - Mar 16, 2013 at 9:08 AM

      I agree. When Hosmer came up to bat, I was wondering why Torre didn’t pinch hit for him. I also questioned (before Pestano stunk up the joint) pulling Vogelsong when he was still pitches short of the 80 pitch limit.

    • paperlions - Mar 16, 2013 at 1:21 PM

      Probably because he was asleep.

  9. halohonk - Mar 16, 2013 at 12:14 AM

    There is a reason Torre doesn’t manage anymore. He sucks!

  10. weaselpuppy - Mar 16, 2013 at 1:32 AM

    he was never all that…rode the Bankee payroll to WS titles. Same deal w Phil Jackson…most overrated coach in any sport of all time

    • jimeejohnson - Mar 16, 2013 at 1:15 PM

      I think you’re lying.

  11. andreweac - Mar 16, 2013 at 1:46 AM

    Joe Torre, and his sacrifice bunts, are/is a terrorist sleeper agent. We will learn this in 50 years when the CIA files become public. Trust me.

  12. beerndrums - Mar 16, 2013 at 4:23 AM


  13. Old Gator - Mar 16, 2013 at 11:19 AM

    Welcome back to spring training, Iron Giant. Today, we’re going to study laying off outside pitches, inside pitches, high pitches and pitches in the dirt – because that’s most of what you’re going to see this season what with all the protection in the lineup of an Al Queda bigshot in Waziristan with a target painted on top of his turban.

    • historiophiliac - Mar 16, 2013 at 11:31 AM

      You might as well teach him some meditation exercises to fill all his down time while you’re at it.

      • Old Gator - Mar 16, 2013 at 12:07 PM

        I can do that. Okay, let’s start easy with the half-lotus position. Place your palms upon your knees. Clear your mind; you’re a professional athlete. Excellent. Now, I want you to begin by envisioning the Muladhara chakra located in your asshole. See the little kundalini curled up in there?* Good. Now, let’s start bringing it up to Svadisthana chakra located in your you-know-whats….

        *Also celebrated in the Hot Tuna song “Serpent of Dreams.”

  14. jimeejohnson - Mar 16, 2013 at 1:17 PM


  15. allen227 - Mar 16, 2013 at 2:33 PM

    The USAs second tier team maybe.

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