Luis Cruz and Adrian Gonzalez celebrate after Gonzalez's two-run… (Christian Petersen / Getty…)
PHOENIX — The Dodgers, who already have a big Latino fan base, may have picked up even more Mexican fans Friday night.
Dodgers Luis Cruz and Adrian Gonzalez, playing third base and first base and batting third and fourth for Mexico, drove in all five runs as Mexico defeated the United States, 5-2, in a World Baseball Classic game at Chase Field.
Mexico, upset by Italy in its opener, evened its record at 1-1 with a game against Canada left to be played here Saturday. The U.S., which was playing its opener, would need to defeat Italy on Saturday night and Canada on Sunday to have a shot at advancing to the second round next week in Florida.
Cheered on by a crowd of 44,256 that was largely pro-Mexico, Gonzalez drove in three runs, two of them on a long home run. After the homer, which landed high above the 413-foot sign in right-center field, he walked in his next three at-bats. Cruz had two sacrifice flies, a single and scored a run.
Gonzalez is almost perfect in his at-bats through two games. He has three hits, five walks and was hit by a pitch. The only blemish among his plate appearances — if you can call a run-scoring at-bat such — was an RBI groundout in the first inning Friday that gave Mexico a 2-0 lead.
Mexico, which blew a ninth-inning lead against Italy in its opener Thursday, jumped on U.S. starter R.A. Dickey, last year's National League Cy Young Award winner, for two runs in the first and two in the third.
Mexico starter Yovani Gallardo, who won 16 games for the Milwaukee Brewers last season, allowed two hits and one run in 31/3 innings before he was removed because of a pinch count. He was backed by six relievers, four of whom pitched out of trouble in the middle innings. The U.S. stranded two runners each in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.
In an earlier game Friday, Italy, which had never won a game in two previous WBC appearances, ran its record to 2-0 by pounding Canada, 14-4, in a game called after eight innings because of the tournament's mercy rule.
Dodgers utilityman Nick Punto had a walk and two hits, including a double, and scored twice for Italy, which scored four runs in the third and five in the eighth. Chris Colabello, who is in his first major league camp as a nonroster invitee of the Minnesota Twins, drove in four runs and had four hits, including a three-run homer.