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Joey Meneses slugs two homers, becomes overnight cult hero in Mexico in win over Team USA in WBC

Mexico's Joey Meneses celebrates his 2-run home run against USA.

PHOENIX – Joey Meneses, a 30-year-old minor-league journeyman, had never played a single major-league game in his career until last August, and Sunday night he’s hearing a sellout crowd screaming his name.

He spent 12 years in the minor leagues, with three clubs giving up on him, and the crowd of 47,534 at Chase Field is chanting, “MVP! MVP! MVP!’’

He played in the Mexican Pacific League. He played in the Japan Pacific League. He played in winter ball. He played in the Caribbean World Series. He played in the Olympics.

Now, for the first time, he’s playing in the World Baseball Classic, becoming an overnight cult hero in Mexico.

Meneses, in one of the great performances in the history of the World Baseball Classic, led Mexico to an 11-5 rout over Team USA with two home runs, five RBI and a bat flip that might have sailed out of Chase Field if the roof wasn’t closed.

WORLD BASEBALL CLASSIC: Schedule, teams, how to watch, betting info

“I have no words to describe it,’’ Meneses says, with fans celebrating on the streets in front of Chase Field after the game. “It was a very beautiful sensation with a lot of adrenaline, with the stadium full.

“It was just super emotional. I just tried to enjoy everything. And I enjoyed the hit, I see the people scream, and stand up from their seats.

“It’s something I’ll never forget.’’

So why not celebrate the greatest night of your career, flipping the bat perhaps 30 feet into the air after homering the second time, securing of the biggest victories in Mexico baseball history, with the large contingent of Mexico fans exploding in sheer delight?

“You could hear the crowd tonight,’’ Mexico starter Patrick Sandoval said. “It was insane. I’ve never played in an atmosphere like that.’’

And the bat flip?

“It fired me up,’’ Sandoval said. “I’m still fired up by it, to be honest.’’

Said Team Mexico manager Benji Gil: “It’s a very beautiful day, for all of Mexico.’’

And a game that Meneses will forever cherish for the rest of his life.

“I always had that faith and hope that a moment would come like this in my career,’’ Meneses said. “That’s why I worked for a long time and I kept going. I didn’t give up.

“When I was in the minor leagues, I never imagined it, but I’m living it now, and I’m really enjoying it.’’

Mexico’s Joey Meneses celebrates his 2-run home run against USA.

Meneses was in his 12th year in the minors when he received a phone call that changed…

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