PHOENIX-A late inning surge by Team USA proved to be the difference as Team Canada was eliminated from the World Baseball Classic by the Americans after a 9-4 loss.
Team USA will now advance to the second round of the WBC, along with Italy, in Miami from March 12-15.
Canada had built a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second thanks to a Michael Saunders (Victoria, BC) two-run homer off Team USA starter Derek Holland.
Saunders had a phenomenal tournament at the plate hitting .727 (8-for-11) with 3 doubles, a homer and 7 RBI, and was later named Pool D MVP.
Canadian starter Jameson Taillon (The Woodlands, TX) gave Canada a solid start on the mound surrendering only two runs, which came in the top of the fourth, through 4 innings of work.
Taillon gave-up only four hits and a walk, while striking out three in his Team Canada debut.
Canada handed the ball over to the bullpen in the 5th with Dustin Molleken (Regina, SK) tossing two shutout frames.
In the bottom of the sixth Canada took a 3-2 lead when Adam Loewen (Surrey, BC) came up with a clutch RBI single and Phillippe Aumont (Gatineau, QC) took the ball in the top of the 7th and got a pop-out and groundout with the US threatening which put Canada only six outs away from knocking the US out of the tournament.
It wasn’t meant to be, however as the US came storming back in the top of the 8th with Canadian reliever Jim Henderson (Calgary, AB) on the mound.
Adam Jones put the US in front, for the first time in the game, when he doubled to the gap in left-centre to make it 4-3.
With the score now 5-3, Canada added a run in the bottom of the 8th off a Loewen groundout with the bases loaded. On the play, Brandon Phillips dove to his left to knock the ball down and threw Loewen out at first which prevented Michael Saunders from scoring the tying run.
The US would add four insurance runs in the top of the 9th which solidified the win.
Canada will finish in 3rd place in Pool D with USA and Italy taking the first two spots and Mexico finishing fourth.