The United States finally found its groove on Monday.
Team USA rode a nine-run first inning that was highlighted by captain Mike Trout’s three-run homer to a decisive 12-1 victory over Canada at Chase Field. The Americans only needed seven innings to secure the victory thanks to the World Baseball Classic’s 10-run mercy rule.
Team USA’s star-studded lineup ran wild on Canada starter Mitch Bratt, who has yet to pitch above Low-A. Bratt, a Texas Rangers prospect, lasted just one-third of an inning and walked three of the seven batters he faced. The 19-year-old was ultimately charged with six earned runs.
The Americans sent 13 men to the plate during the first-inning explosion, with Nolan Arenado’s two-run double and Cedric Mullins’ RBI triple standing out as highlights. Trout then sent the partisan crowd into a frenzy with a three-run homer off reliever R.J. Freure.
The nine runs tied the WBC record for the most in one inning, first set by Cuba on March 12, 2009, according to Sarah Langs of MLB.com.
U.S. starter Lance Lynn put the Americans on his back after that first inning. One night after the bullpen was taxed in its blowout loss to Mexico, Lynn provided tremendous relief for the staff by striking out six over five innings of two-hit ball. His lone blemish was a second-inning homer allowed to Jared Young. Miles Mikolas locked down the victory with two shutout frames of relief.
Trout cited the Mexico loss as a wake-up call for his team to show up and “dominate” on Monday, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
With the win, Team USA moves atop Pool C with a 2-1 record. Manager Mark DeRosa’s squad can clinch a berth in the quarterfinals by beating Colombia in its final pool game on Wednesday.
Canada, meanwhile, became the third team in WBC history to win and lose a mercy-rule game in back-to-back contests, according to Langs. The Canadians opened their tournament with a 10-run win over Great Britain in seven innings.
Despite the lopsided loss, Canada can still advance to the next round by winning both of its final two Pool C games against Colombia and Mexico.
USA-Canada was the third game to be decided by mercy rule on Monday, the first time that’s happened since the inaugural WBC in 2006, per Langs.
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