MIAMI (AP) — Nolan Arenado and Buster Posey homered and drove in three runs apiece to help the United States earn a berth in the second round of the World Baseball Classic with an 8-0 victory against Canada on Sunday night.
The Americans finished 2-1 in pool play and bounced back from a tough loss Saturday, when they blew a five-run lead and were beaten by the Dominican Republic 7-5. The U.S. team failed to reach the final in the three previous WBCs.
The Dominicans also advanced to the second round in San Diego by beating Colombia 10-3 in 11 innings Sunday. The Dominicans, who won the 2013 tournament, finished 3-0 in the first round.
Canada went 0-3.
Danny Duffy became the third consecutive U.S. starter to turn in a scoreless outing. He struck out seven in four innings, and the only baserunners against him were Jonathan Malo and Peter Orr on consecutive two-out singles in the third.
Duffy, Chris Archer and Marcus Stroman combined for 12 2/3 scoreless innings in their starts.
The Americans’ relievers combined for five shutout innings after giving up nine runs in 9 1/3 innings in the first two games. Tyler Clippard retired all six batters he faced, striking out four.
The crowd of 22,303 was smaller and more subdued than for the games involving the Dominican Republic, but there was some flag-waving and chanting for the U.S. team.
The home team gave fans something to cheer about from the start. Canada starter Ryan Dempster, who came out of retirement to pitch in the WBC, recorded just two outs and lasted only two-thirds of an inning and was charged with three runs.
Eric Hosmer hit a two-run double in the first inning to put the Americans ahead, and another run scored on Posey’s groundout.
After Adam Jones and Christian Yelich hit consecutive singles in the second, Arenado homered to make it 6-0. It was the first homer for the Americans in the tournament.
Posey hit a solo homer in the seventh. Posey, Yelich, Jones, Hosmer and Brandon Crawford had two hits apiece.