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World Baseball Classic: Mike Trout, USA crush Canada 12-1

The US team made a statement after its disappointing loss to Mexico.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

PHOENIX — Any time any country would like to defeat Canada in the World Baseball Classic by 11 runs, just call me, I’m available. Monday night’s 12-1 thrashing of Canada by the USA was the second WBC game I’ve seen in person. The other was a 15-4 upset of Canada by Italy in 2013, also at Chase Field, also ended by mercy rule.

The USA team must have been wholly embarrassed by their lackluster effort against Mexico Sunday night, because they came out with bats blazing after Lance Lynn retired Canada in order in the top of the first.

Mitch Bratt, who we saw pitch for Canada against the Cubs last week, just didn’t have it. Bratt is one of the Texas Rangers’ top prospects, but he is just 19 years old and hasn’t pitched above Low-A as a professional and his inexperience showed. Mookie Bets led off with a single, and Mike Trout and Paul Goldschmidt walked. Nolan Arenado made it 2-0 [VIDEO].

Goldschmidt took third and scored on a sac fly by Kyle Tucker. Then Bratt walked Tim Anderson and J.T. Realmuto singled him to third. That was enough for Canada’s manager Ernie Whitt, who lifted Bratt for R.J. Freure. Trea Turner hit into a force play with Anderson scoring to make it 4-0, but that score didn’t last long. The ninth man to bat in the inning, Cedric Mullins, laced this RBI triple, scoring the fifth US run [VIDEO].

Betts, batting again, was hit by a pitch and that set the scene for this monster homer by Trout [VIDEO].

That brought the largely pro-USA crowd to its feet for a loud ovation. While there were lots of Canadian fans at Chase Field, I’d say it was 80/20 in favor of the USA.

Lynn, staked to that lead, breezed through the Canadian lineup for five innings, allowing just two hits. One of them was a home run by Cubs minor leaguer Jared Young [VIDEO].

Lynn was also helped out by his defense — check out this nice diving catch by Betts [VIDEO].

The US put three more on the board in the second inning, highlighted by this RBI triple from Tim Anderson [VIDEO].

And this solo homer from Trea Turner [VIDEO].

That completed the scoring and it was still just the second inning. After Lynn was lifted after five for Miles Mikolas, the Canadians came close to scoring again. Mikolas allowed a one-out single in the sixth and after a force play, Tyler O’Neill doubled to right, seemingly far enough to score a run, but Freddie Freeman was held at third. A strikeout of Young ended the inning.

All that remained was to get three outs in the seventh to end the game by mercy rule, Here’s the final out [VIDEO].

The US team definitely made a statement with this win and, combined with Great Britain’s upset of Colombia earlier Tuesday, made it much more likely that the USA will be one of the two teams from Pool C to make the quarterfinals along with Mexico. If the USA defeats Colombia, they should make it.

The scene at Chase Field was festive. Here are a couple of photos from outside the stadium before the gates opened:

Al Yellon
Al Yellon

Inside, during batting practice:

Al Yellon

There were fans from just about every MLB team, based on T-shirts, jerseys and caps I say, but probably the most represented were the Cubs, Dodgers and Yankees. That’s one of the best things about the WBC — being able to root for players you wouldn’t ordinarily root for, in the case of Cubs fans, guys like Goldschmidt and Arenado, who during the regular season are arch-rival Cardinals.

One thing I found disappointing was the selection of merchandise. I was all ready to buy a WBC Kyle Schwarber shirsey — none to be found. All they had was Goldschmidt, Arenado and Trout, with a couple of stray shirts (and not in sizes a normal adult could wear) of Anderson and Cedric Mullins. This was a big mistake on the WBC’s part — there were very long lines to get into the team shop, but the merch selection wasn’t great.

And the Chase Field food selections were basically the normal stuff you’d see at a Diamondbacks game. Not that I’d necessarily have ordered poutine or some other Canadian specialty, but why not have things like that? They could have done the same for the other countries represented in Phoenix, Great Britain, Colombia and Mexico. There’s another missed opportunity, I think.

One thing this game really made me appreciate was the pitch timer. The USA/Canada game ran 2:20, which is about the length of many Cubs Spring Training games this year... but that’s for six and a half innings. Had this game gone its full length it probably would have run about 3:10 or so.

But all in all, this was a fun experience I’d recommend to any of you if you have the chance in the future. 29,621 attended this game, a good showing for a Monday night.

The Cubs return to action tonight at Sloan Park. Justin Steele goes for the Cubs and German Márquez for Colorado. Game time is 8:05 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.

Here are some more photos I took at Chase Field Monday night.