US opens World Baseball Classic with win over Great Britain at Chase Field
PHOENIX (AP) — Kyle Schwarber launched a three-run homer, Nolan Arenado had three hits and two RBIs, and the United States overcame a slow start to beat Great Britain 6-2 on Saturday night in the World Baseball Classic opener for both teams.
Trayce Thompson put Britain up 1-0 in the first inning with a homer off Adam Wainwright that just cleared the left-center wall. Thompson — who plays for the Los Angeles Dodgers — is one of the few players on Britain’s roster with big league experience.
Thompson’s drive briefly put a damper on the mood for the crowd of 39,650 at Chase Field, but the Americans weren’t down long.
(via @MLBONFOX) pic.twitter.com/kajoPk9DDm
— B/R Walk-Off (@BRWalkoff) March 12, 2023
The U.S. grabbed a 2-1 lead in the third and then broke the game open in the fourth on Schwarber’s shot that landed in the stands near the swimming pool that sits behind the right-center fence at Chase Field.
“I was able to take the heater inside, and then he kind of just left a changeup in the zone and I was able to kind of get a decent swing off and get some runs on board,” Schwarber said postgame.
Wainwright gave up one run and five hits over four innings for the win.
Kyle Freeland allowed one run in three innings of relief, and David Bednar struck out the side in the ninth.
“Schwarby hit that huge home run to kind of settle everyone down, but I thought Waino rolled one curveball to Trayce Thompson, but besides that he looked great,” U.S. manager Mark DeRosa said postgame.
“Just a great first day. I just think for a lot of us, and the coaches included, right? Chance for us to knock — I don’t want to say cobwebs off, but a chance for us to kind of experience it ourselves.”
Former big league pitcher Vance Worley gave up two unearned runs over 2.2 innings for Britain. Thompson, who tied his career high with 13 homers last season for the Dodgers, finished with two hits.
GREAT BRITAIN SOLO HOMER!
Trayce Thompson gives his squad an early lead over USA!
📺: FOX and the FOX Sports App pic.twitter.com/KYwvPpIyUq
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) March 12, 2023
“I think they showed they were ready for the competition,” manager Drew Spencer said postgame. “I don’t think anybody was expecting that game to be that close, when it was — except us. There was 30 men in that dugout that knew we were going to battle. And we did.”
The U.S. will take on Mexico Sunday night at 7 p.m. with Nick Martinez on the hill for Team USA.
In the first game of Group C in Phoenix, Colombia beat Mexico 5-4 in 10 innings when Jorge Alfaro scored on an error by shortstop Luis Urias.
The back-and-forth game saw Mexico take a 1-0 lead in the fourth on an RBI single by Isaac Paredes.
Colombia tied the game in the top of the fifth and then took a 3-1 lead on a two-run homer by Reynaldo Rodriguez. Mexico’s Randy Arozarena responded with his own two-run homer in the bottom of the fifth to tie the game at 3-all.
The game was tied at 4 going into extra innings. In the 10th, Gustavo Campero hit a grounder that Urias couldn’t handle, which allowed Alfaro to score. Guillermo Zuñiga retired Mexico in order in the bottom of the 10th to seal the win.