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Puerte Rico routs U.S., 11-1

Peavy is rocked and game is called in the seventh inning after the mercy rule is invoked.

March 15, 2009|Associated Press

MIAMI — The mercy rule is designed to spare Little Leaguers from humiliation, not a bunch of big league All-Stars.

But it was Jimmy Rollins, David Wright and their United States teammates who found themselves shuffling off the field in the seventh inning Saturday night at Dolphin Stadium. Puerto Rico scored four times in the seventh to complete an 11-1 victory that left Team USA on the ropes in Round 2 of the World Baseball Classic.

"Everybody is embarrassed," shortstop Derek Jeter said. "But 2-1 or 11-1, we're still in the same position. You can't sit around and hang your head too long."

Carlos Beltran and Felipe Lopez homered, and Puerto Rico rocked Jake Peavy for six runs in the first two innings to send the U.S. team into the loser's bracket. Roy Oswalt will start for the Americans when they face the Netherlands in an elimination game tonight.

To cap a Classic blowout, Mike Aviles hit a two-out, two-run single in the seventh, triggering the tournament's 10-run rule and sending Puerto Rico players pouring out of the dugout in jubilation. Several players on both teams said they didn't realize the game was over, including Puerto Rico's hot-hitting Ivan Rodriguez.

"I was putting on my catching equipment," he said. "When I walked out, I saw everyone on the field. I thought maybe somebody got hurt."

Javier Vazquez (2-0) gave up one run in five innings for Puerto Rico, which remained unbeaten through four games. Rodriguez, playing in Miami for the first time since he helped the Marlins win the 2003 World Series, went three for four with two doubles and an RBI to hike his WBC batting average to .600 (nine for 15).

The Americans were eager to make amends for a humiliating eighth-place finish in the inaugural WBC three years ago, and they came into the tournament considered a strong contender for the title. But they're 2-2 this time around and in danger of repeating their second-round exit of 2006.

Puerto Rico advances to a winner's bracket game Monday against Venezuela, which beat the Dutch, 3-1, in the first game Saturday. Monday's winner advances to the semifinals next weekend at Dodger Stadium.

Manager Davey Johnson unexpectedly rejoined Team USA around game time and watched with a grimace as the Americans quickly fell behind. He had been scheduled to miss the game for the wedding of his stepson in St. Petersburg, Fla.

"The wedding got over a little early, and I had a plane standing by and I wanted to be here," Johnson said. "Maybe I should have stayed longer."

The crowd of 30,595 was evenly divided in its support, but Puerto Rico fans had a lot more to cheer about. Jeter, Chipper Jones and Kevin Youkilis went a combined 0 for 9 batting 2-3-4 for Team USA, and Mark DeRosa went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts while stranding five runners.

"To beat the United States like that, to take them out in seven innings and win by 10, that's big," Rodriguez said.

From the outset, Peavy made the game look like international batting practice. He gave up singles to three of the first four hitters he faced.

"I take full responsibility for the boys' loss," Peavy said. "Nothing was working. Just a tough night."

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