Team USA advanced out of the first round of the World Baseball Classic thanks in part to a pair of Royals.
First baseman Eric Hosmer and pitcher Danny Duffy played key roles in Sunday’s 8-0 win over Canada at Marlins Park in Miami.
Hosmer’s two-run double in the bottom of the first inning opened the scoring and was part of a three-run opening frame. Hosmer also doubled in the second inning and scored on a single by Giants catcher Buster Posey.
Starting quickly was important, Hosmer said, after the 7-5 loss to the Dominican Republic on Saturday.
“That was such an emotional game and it was such a hard-fought game back and forth, and obviously they came back at the end and came out with a victory,” Hosmer told reporters. “So it was important for us to get off to a good start, and it was important for us to have Danny get a good start in for us. Obviously we used a lot of guys yesterday in our bullpen.
“So I think we came today and did what we needed to do. The offense did a good job of putting up runs early and Duff did a good job of going out there and basically shutting them down.”
Duffy allowed just two hits in four innings and struck out seven. After his start last week for the Royals against the Giants, Duffy said that he wouldn’t pitch more than four innings in the game.
Team USA advanced out of its group along with the Dominican Republic, and will play in four-team pool in San Diego. Puerto Rico advanced out of its group in Mexico and will be in San Diego as well, along with either Team Venezuela or Team Italy.
“I don’t think it’s going to be any easier,” Duffy told reporters. “I just think that as time goes on, we’ll get more polished in this atmosphere. ...
“In the next round, I think that we’ll be a little bit more polished. These guys are already polished enough. It’s just about us building up our arm strength. This guy (Hosmer) over here set the tone in the first inning, and seems like every time I pitch he comes up with a big knock.
“So, we’ll just keep going. We’ll keep building up our pitch count and from a staff standpoint, I think that we’re just going to get better and better.”