Retired manager Jim Leyland was back at his familiar perch on the dugout steps Friday night, looking tense as he watched his U.S. team go hitless until the sixth inning and flirt with a devastating defeat before pulling out a 10th-inning win in its first game at the World Baseball Classic.
“Now you know why I’m not managing anymore,” Leyland said with a laugh.
He and his players could smile only after Adam Jones hit the winning RBI single with two out in the 10th to beat Colombia 3-2.
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The Americans improved their all-time WBC record to 11-10. They failed to make the finals in the three previous events and next face the Dominican Republic, the defending champions.
“I’m hoping this win takes a little bit of pressure off and we can relax a little bit,” Leyland said. “You don’t relax against the Dominican Republic, but at least the guys feel good they got a win under their belt.”
U.S. starter Chris Archer retired all 12 batters he faced. Archer, coming off a 9-19 season with Tampa Bay, struck out three and needed only 41 pitches to get through four innings.
Colombian starter Carlos Quintana was also dominant, holding the Americans hitless until Brandon Crawford singled with two out in the sixth. Quintana was then pulled because he had thrown 63 pitches, and Colombia’s 2-0 lead was soon gone, too.
With one out in the 10th, Christian Yelich and Crawford walked against Guillermo Moscoso, and both advanced on a groundout. The noisy crowd of 22,580 was on its feet when Jones lined a single on an 0-2 pitch and was mobbed by his teammates.
The Americans star-studded lineup managed just six hits.
Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer went 0 for 2 after coming on as a pinch-hitter for the Americans.
Marcus Stroman is scheduled to start for the United States against former Royals pitcher Edinson Volquez and the Dominican Republic before a sellout crowd Saturday night. The Dominicans won their opening game Thursday against Canada.
Butera shines for Team Italy at WBC
Royals catcher Drew Butera had a good night for Team Italy, which stunned Team Mexico on Thursday night in a World Baseball Classic pool-play game in Jalisco, Mexico.
Butera was the designated hitter and went 2 for 4 with a solo homer, and he reached on an error during a five-run rally in the bottom of the ninth inning as Italy won 10-9.
Italy trailed 9-5 but scored three times and had the bases loaded when John Andreoli stepped to the plate. His single scored Butera and Drew Maggi and won the game in walk-off fashion.
Royals relief pitcher Joakim Soria pitched a scoreless seventh inning for Team Mexico. He struck out one and allowed a single — to Butera, whose solo homer came in the fifth inning.
Pitcher Peter Moylan, who signed a minor-league deal with the Royals last month, tossed two scoreless innings for Team Australia in its 4-3 loss to Team Cuba in Tokyo. Moylan allowed two hits and struck out three. Australia was eliminated from the tournament with the loss.