MIAMI (AP) — The United States bounced back to move on.
Nolan Arenado and Buster Posey homered and drove in three runs apiece to help Team USA shake off a deflating defeat and earn a berth in the second round of the World Baseball Classic by beating Canada 8-0 on Sunday night.
The Americans finished 2-1 in pool play and rebounded after blowing a five-run lead Saturday and losing to the Dominican Republic 7-5.
“Good teams know how to turn the page,” manager Jim Leyland said. “The expectations for the USA are high, and it’s a thrill to get out of here. It wasn’t easy.”
The U.S. is trying for a WBC breakthrough after failing to reach the final in the three previous events.
“We’re taking it real serious,” Arenado said. “We’re representing our country. It’s not just a walk in the park.”
The Dominicans also advanced to the second round in San Diego by beating Colombia 10-3 in 11 innings Sunday. The Dominicans, who won the 2013 tournament, finished 3-0 in the first round.
Canada went 0-3 and has never advanced beyond the opening round. Manager Ernie Whitt said he wished more big league players from Canada were willing to take part.
“For us to compete at this level, we have to have all of our professional players,” Whitt said. “We can’t put our roster up against teams like the Dominican and the United States if we don’t have all of our big league players.”
The Americans have perhaps their best roster ever, including strong pitching, and Danny Duffy became the third consecutive U.S. starter to turn in a scoreless outing. He struck out seven in four innings, and the only baserunners against him were Jonathan Malo and Peter Orr on consecutive two-out singles in the third.
Duffy, Chris Archer and Marcus Stroman combined for 12 2/3 scoreless innings in their starts.
“We feed off each other,” Duffy said. “Archer and Stro set the table, and I was just trying to follow suit.”
The American relievers combined for five shutout innings after giving up nine runs in 9 1/3 innings in the first two games. Tyler Clippard retired all six batters he faced, striking out four.
The crowd of 22,303 was smaller and more subdued than for the games involving the Dominican Republic, but there was some flag-waving and chanting for the U.S. team.
The home team gave fans something to cheer about from the start. Canada starter Ryan Dempster, who came out of retirement to pitch in the WBC, recorded just one out and was charged with three runs.
Eric Hosmer hit a two-run double in the first inning to put the Americans ahead, and another run scored on Posey’s groundout, easing the bitter aftertaste of the loss to the Dominicans.
“That was such an emotional game and hard-fought game,” Hosmer said. “It was important for us to get off to a good start.”
After Adam Jones and Christian Yelich hit consecutive singles in the second, Arenado homered to make it 6-0. It was the first homer for the Americans in the tournament.
Posey hit a solo homer in the seventh. Posey, Yelich, Jones, Hosmer and Brandon Crawford finished with two hits apiece.
“From this point on the tournament gets tougher and tougher,” Hosmer said. “We came here and took care of business, and we’re going to be ready for San Diego.”
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