Starting pitchers for the United States entered Friday night's World Baseball Classic matchup with Puerto Rico not having allowed an earned run in the tournament. That changed in a hurry when Puerto Rico's first six batters each recorded a hit against Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman, jumping out to a
Starting pitchers for the United States entered Friday night's World Baseball Classic matchup with Puerto Rico not having allowed an earned run in the tournament. That changed in a hurry when Puerto Rico's first six batters each recorded a hit against Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman, jumping out to a four-run lead en route to a 6-5 victory at Petco Park that clinched a spot in the Classic semifinals in Los Angeles.
Stroman tossed 4 2/3 scoreless innings against a power-packed Dominican Republic lineup in the first round of the Classic. But Angel Pagan, Francisco Lindor, Carlos Correa, Carlos Beltran, Yadier Molina and Javier Baez all singled to open the bottom of the first Friday.
:: 2017 World Baseball Classic ::
"As a team, we had a plan with Stroman, and we executed our job and our plan," Beltran said. "And that is one of the things that was extremely important, when we have these short series, to win these games."
Stroman has never surrendered more than five hits in a single inning of an MLB game in his career.
"I thought they gave Marcus some really good, tough at-bats in the first inning," Team USA manager Jim Leyland said. "He made some good pitches. Couple balls hit decent. Couple balls they did a great job of hitting. Put the ball in play, and they fell in."
Some other notable facts about Puerto Rico's first-inning fireworks:
• The four runs Puerto Rico scored in the first inning exceeded the total offensive output during the Venezuela-Dominican Republic game at Petco Park on Thursday, which the Dominican Republic won, 3-0.
• Puerto Rico's four runs over six batters also equaled the most runs scored by one team in any game during Pool F play at Petco Park, which is one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in the Majors. The U.S. scored four times in its victory over Venezuela on Wednesday night.
• While Correa was 3-for-6 lifetime (all singles) against Stroman entering the game, the other five hitters were a combined 4-for-27 (.148) against him.
• Four of the six hits came on two-strike counts. In Stroman's MLB career, opposing batters have hit .170 against him in two-strike counts.
The World Baseball Classic runs through Wednesday. In the U.S., games air live exclusively in English on MLB Network and on an authenticated basis via MLBNetwork.com/watch, while ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN provide the exclusive Spanish-language coverage. MLB.TV Premium subscribers in the U.S. have access to watch every tournament game live on any of the streaming service's 400-plus supported devices. The tournament is being distributed internationally across all forms of television, internet, mobile and radio in territories excluding the U.S., Puerto Rico and Japan. Get tickets for games in San Diego's Petco Park and the Championship Round at Dodger Stadium, while complete coverage -- including schedules, video, stats and gear -- is available at WorldBaseballClassic.com.
Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB.