USA 12, Cuba 10
Team USA advances to the Gold Medal competition in the Pan Am games tomorrow with a win today over the Cuban team. That means that Cuba will not go on to play for the Gold Medal — for the first time in over 60 years– and the first time since 1967 that Cuba will not come out of the tournament with the Gold.
Team USA jumped out to the early lead with 5 runs in the top of the 2nd game, then added 2 more runs in the 3rd inning for a 7-0 lead. Another big inning in the 4th gave the US 5 more runs. SS Jordy Mercer doubled in 2 runs, dropped down two sacrifice bunts, and scored 2 runs. Both CF Jordan Danks (White Sox) and RF Brett Carroll (Red Sox) had two hits each. Besides Mercer, 1B Jim Gallagher (White Sox) and C Tuffy Gosewisch (Phillies) also drove in two runs each.
The top of the 2nd began with a double by Carroll and a walk to DH Matt Clark (Padres). Mercer put down his bunt, and an error by the Cuban third baseman let Carroll come around from second base to score, leaving Clark on third and Mercer on second. 3B Tommy Mendonca (Rangers) was intentionally walked to load the bases. A single by Gosewisch brought in Clark and Mercer (his run was unearned), then Danks also singled, plating Mendonca (4-0). A fielder’s choice grounder by LF AJ Pollock (Diamondbacks) brought in Gosewisch for the 5-0 lead.
Carroll and Clark also started the 3rd inning rally, with a walk and a single. Again Mercer bunted for the sacrifice to put both runners into scoring position. Both runners scored when Gallagher ripped a double down the right field line, and Team USA was up 7-0.
Pollock ignited the 4th inning rally with a single into right field, and 2B Joe Thurston (Marlins) followed with an RBI double. Thurston was able to advance to third base on the throw in from the outfield, and he scored on a wild pitch. That brought up the top of the order, and more trouble for the Cubans. Carroll singled and Clark walked, setting up Mercer for his 2-RBI double. Mercer scored the fifth run of the inning on Mendonca’s double.
Former Pirate farmhand Todd Redmond (Braves) made the start for Team USA. Like in previous tournament games, Redmond struggled, but all the runs his teammates provided kept him from getting too deep into trouble. Redmond pitched 4 innings and allowed 4 runs on 8 hits and a walk, while striking out 3 batters. He gave up 2 runs in the 3rd on three singles and an RBI grounder, then a 2-run homer to the Cubans in the 4th. Chuckie Fick (Cardinals) relieved Redmond and pitched a scoreless 5th, but gave up 2 more runs in the 6th, cutting the US lead to 12-6. Cuba kept chipping away at Team USA’s lead. Randy Williams (Red Sox) gave up one run in the 7th, and Pete Andrelczyk (Marlins) was responsible for 3 more runs in the 8th, bringing Cuba within 2 runs of the US. Justin Cassel (White Sox) finished the 8th inning, then Scott Patterson (Mariners) earned the Save with a scoreless 9th inning, allowing just one hit. Willams was given credit for the win.
Canada defeated Mexico 5-3 in the other semi-final game, so the US will face off against Canada for the Gold Medal on Tuesday. Former Pirate farmhand DH Jamie Romak went 1-for-3 with an RBI double. Another former Pirate, Dustin Molleken pitched 2 scoreless innings for Canada, allowing 2 hits and a walk.
Cuba and Mexico will play for the Bronze Medal at 2 pm on Tuesday. Team USA and Canada will play the final game at 7 pm.