Home run from Blue Jay Otto Lopez leads Canada to huge win over Colombia at World Baseball Classic

Photo credit:© Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Tyson Shushkewich
1 year ago
Canada and Colombia faced off earlier today in an important contest for Pool C, one that was going to help the winner on their quest to advance in the World Baseball Classic while the loser is likely advancing out of the round-robin stage.
Team Canada was coming off a demoralizing loss to the United States last night, losing 12 to 1 through seven innings, while Colombia dropped their contest to Great Britain yesterday 7 to 5, an upset that gave the country its first win in World Baseball Classic history. Both teams earned a win earlier in the week however, Colombia upset Mexico in extra innings while Canada scored 18 runs in their opener over Great Britain, mercying them in the seventh inning. 
For Canada, Phillies prospect Noah Skirrow was given the start while Colombia sent southpaw Adrian Almeida to the mound. The right-hander put forward the best start for Team Canada so far in the tournament, going 5.0 innings without allowing an earned run with two hits and one walk while striking out five, including Angels infielder Gio Urshela. Skirrow was able to avoid any damage from the walks by getting catcher Jorge Alfaro to ground into two separate double plays while also getting some help from Bo Naylor, with the two combining for a strikeout/throw-em-out double play, nailing Oscar Mercado at second base.

Canada Earns its Second Win of the World Baseball Classic – Shuts Out Colombia

At the plate, Naylor put Canada on the board in the top of the fourth inning, dropping a single in short right field which would score outfielder Tyler O’Neill from second base. Canada would load the bases in the fifth inning on an Edouard Julien double, a hit-by-pitch for Denzel Clarke, and O’Neill being intentionally walked but the team could not capitalize, with the score being 1-0 heading into the bottom of the fifth.
Curtis Taylor would replace Skirrow in the sixth inning, with the right-hander getting his second appearance of the tournament. He would limit the damage to a single and nothing more. Taylor pitched a clean inning against Britain back on March 12th, throwing the first scoreless inning in the high-scoring affair.
The score would remain at 1-0 til the top of the eighth when Blue Jays prospect Otto Lopez would lead off with a triple to right field, later being brought in by a single off the bat of Owen Caissie and giving Canada a two-run advantage. Right-hander Trevor Brigden would get the ball in the bottom of the eighth, pitching a scoreless inning with two strikeouts. This was his first game action in the tournament.
O’Neill and Jared Young would leave off the top of the ninth with back-to-back singles before López crushed an insider cutter from Carlos Ocampo, adding three extra insurance runs. Veteran reliever Scott Mathieson would get the ball in the bottom of the ninth, with the right-hander looking to finish the game and give Canada its second win of the tournament. Mathieson would allow two singles to lead off the inning but a ground ball double play followed by a fly ball to Urshela would end the game, giving Canada a 2-1 record in the tournament.
Julien and López led Canada in the batter’s box, with the lefty-batting Twins prospect going 3 for 4 on the day while the Blue Jays prospect drove in three runs. Caissie and Naylor collected an RBI of their own while O’Neill and López also had multi-hit games of their own. Canada did struggle with umpire Doug Eddings wild strike zone, resulting in 14 punchouts with Naylor, Caissie, Abraham Toro, and Jacob Robson accounting for nine of those strikeouts. 
Canada’s pitching staff was strong today, with no pitcher allowing an earned run while striking out seven batters total. The Blue Jays only used four pitchers in the game, saving some more experienced arms for tomorrow’s game against Mexico like John Axford and Matt Brash. Rob Zastryzny is slated to get the start.
Standing wise, Canada currently sits tied for first place with the United States with a 2-1 record although Mexico could join them at a top of the leaderboard if they defeat Great Britain later tonight.

Freeman Leaves the Game Early

Perhaps one of the biggest notes from this game is Freddie Freeman being removed back in the fourth inning. It was later announced that he was removed due to hamstring discomfort/tightness and his current status for tomorrow’s game against Mexico is up in the air.



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