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Team USA Bounces Back, Mercy Rules Canada 12-1

Team USA Bounces Back, Mercy Rules Canada 12-1

PHOENIX—After two uninspiring showings to start the World Baseball Classic, Team USA finally resembled the juggernaut it was supposed to be.

Mike Trout hit his first WBC homer to cap a nine-run first inning, Trea Turner added another homer and Team USA cruised to a 12-1 rout of Canada in seven innings on Monday night. The 12 runs were Team USA’s most in a game since 2009. It was just the second time Team USA has mercy-ruled an opponent in the WBC.

“It kind of went perfect,” Team USA manager Mark DeRosa said. “Nine runs in the first. Everyone was relaxed. Everyone was a part of it.”

Team USA’s offensive outburst represented a stark turnaround from its performance the first two nights. Its star-studded lineup failed to maintain any semblance of a consistent offensive threat against a Great Britain staff of journeymen and minor leaguers in a sluggish 6-2 victory to open the tournament. The lineup was shut down entirely by Mexico on Sunday, managing only three hits and one run through the first six innings before adding runs in garbage time of an 11-5 loss.

For a team with 13 all-star position players on the roster, it was a pitiful—and humbling—showing.

“Obviously tough loss last night … I think it woke us up a little bit,” Trout said. “The message for us was go out there and bang, be ourselves.

“I think the first couple of games we were just trying to feel ourselves. But today we came in just with a mindset of ‘We’re going to dominate.’ And you put that pressure on a group, that’s what’s going to happen.”

Team USA’s lineup finally clicked in a big way against Canada. Nolan Arenado hit a two-run double, J.T. Realmuto had a two-run single, Cedric Mullins had an RBI triple and Trout hit a three-run homer in the first inning alone to stake Team USA to a commanding 9-0 lead. Tim Anderson added an RBI triple and Turner homered in the second to give Team USA a 12-1 lead less than an hour into the game.

From there it was only a matter of when, not if, the mercy rule would be invoked.

“Being in the lineup with so many dudes, you ain’t really got to do too much,” Anderson said. “The whole goal is really to just pass the stick, and I think you’ve seen it out of the gate tonight. And we just kept pouring it on them.”

Canada made the strategic decision to save its best pitchers for its upcoming games against Colombia and Mexico, opponents it is more likely to beat. Canada manager Ernie Whitt made the judgement that doing so puts Canada…

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