Thursday, February 22, 2024

Goldschmidt’s HR highlights U.S. team’s loss to Giants

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Mark DeRosa finally got to make his managerial debut in the World Baseball Classic.

DeRosa is guiding a United States team that’s packed with considerable power as it defends its WBC title from 2017, the last version of the competition due to the pandemic. Among those on the roster are former MVPs Mookie Betts and Mike Trout.

But the expected power was absent Wednesday night as the U.S. team was limited to four hits in a 5-1 exhibition loss to the San Francisco Giants in front of a crowd of 6,690 at Scottsdale Stadium.

“It wasn’t the way I drew it up,” DeRosa said. “But we got off the field with everybody healthy.”

DeRose is hoping the team comes together quickly and uses its exhibition games to get a few quality at-bats.

The U.S. team is among the favorites, with the Dominican Republic and Japan. Japan has won the WBC twice, in 2006 and 2009, and the Dominicans won in 2013.

Anthony DeSclafani, Sean Manaea, Scott Alexander, John Brebbia and Mauricio Llovera pitched for the Giants, with the final three each working a hitless inning against a combination of U.S. roster players and minor leaguers borrowed from the Giants for the day.

Paul Goldschmidt homered off Manaea leading off the sixth. The Cardinals’ first baseman and 2022 NL MVP batted cleanup in the loaded U.S. lineup, with Betts, Trout and Kyle Schwarber hitting in front of him.

Batting fifth was Goldschmidt’s St. Louis teammate, Nolan Arenado, followed by Kyle Tucker, Trea Turner, J.T. Realmuto and Jeff McNeil — who led the major leagues with a .326 average in 2022 — batting ninth.

Trout was hit by a pitch in the first inning and stayed in for two more at-bats as all the starters went to the plate three times. DeRosa said Trout will play Thursday against his team, the Los Angeles Angels, in Tempe.

Cardinals veteran right-hander Miles Mikolas started for the U.S. and went 2 2/3 innings, giving up two hits and two runs, while striking out two.

Mikolas is participating in his first WBC, but he did spend three seasons in Japan with the Yomiuri Giants. He made it to the majors before that, and since signing with St. Louis in 2018, he has been a reliable arm, winning 41 games in four seasons and posting a 3.46 ERA. He missed the abbreviated 2020 season after surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon.

Joc Pederson, who drove in the Giants’ first run with an infield out, will be playing for Israel in the WBC. San Francisco’s David Villar homered off Chicago White Sox reliever Kendall Graveman in the sixth.

The Arizona Diamondbacks’ Merrill Kelly will start against the Angels on Thursday, and like Mikolas, will be limited to 45 pitches.

The U.S. team opens tournament play on Saturday against Great Britain at Chase Field in Phoenix.

AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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