Team USA was pummeled by Meneses Mauler on Sunday night, Washington Nationals slugger Joey Meneses smashing two homers and driving in five runs to lead Mexico to an 11-5 El Clasico victory Baseball World Cup before a raucous crowd of 47,534 at Chase Field.
Meneses, a 30-year-old journeyman who played 10 years in the minor leagues and 10 seasons of winter baseball in Mexico before his breakout 2022 season with the Nationals, sent a 109-mph line drive into the left-field seats. off San Diego Padres right-hander Nick Martinez with a two-run home run in the first inning.
Meneses hit an infield single and scored in the third inning for a 3-1 lead. The first baseman then followed Randy Arozarena’s RBI double and Alex Verdugo’s walk with a towering three-run home run to left field off Kansas City Royals right-hander Brady Singer for a 7-1 lead in the game. room.
Meneses, who hit .324 with a .930 on-base plus slugging percentage, 13 home runs and 34 RBIs in 56 games for Washington last season, hit his second shot with a bat toss, throwing his wood about 20 feet. in the air in front of the Mexico first base dugout as his teammates, including Dodgers lefty Julio Urías, went wild.
Urías and Meneses, both from Culiacán, have known each other since they were children, but they never played together because Meneses is four years older than Urías (26).
Meneses has been a star for the Tomateros de Culiacán in winter ball for years. Urias said last year that he wants to finish his career with the Tomateros.
Angels lefty Patrick Sandoval pitched three one-run, two-hit innings and Chicago Cubs right-hander Javier Assad pitched three scoreless, one-hit innings to help Mexico improve to 1-1 in Pool C. Team USA fell to 1-1, making their path to the WBC quarterfinals in Miami a bit more treacherous.
Canada and Colombia are both 1-0. The US can clinch a spot in Miami with wins over Canada on Monday night and Colombia on Wednesday night.
A battle between Angels teammates ended in a tie, with Sandoval striking out Team USA center fielder Mike Trout eyeing a down-and-in slider in the first inning and Trout drawing a walk for capping off a nine-pitch at-bat. In the third
Trout fouled three full-count sliders in the third inning, all down and in, before taking a fastball for ball four. Sandoval escaped further damage by striking out third hitter Paul Goldschmidt with a nasty slider and having midfielder Nolan Arenado ground out to shortstop, preserving a 3-1 lead.
Sandoval struck out two and walked two in his 55-pitch start, giving up his only run when Kyle Tucker hit a one-out triple in the right-field corner and scored on Tim Anderson’s single to right in the second. .
Dodgers catchers Will Smith and Austin Barnes also clashed with Barnes, who plays for Mexico, and stole second base from Smith in the sixth inning. Smith hit a solo home run to left field to cut Mexico’s lead to 7-2.
Mexico added four more runs off Colorado closer Daniel Bard in the eighth on Arozarena’s RBI double, Rowdy Tellez’s two-run RBI single and Luis Urias’ RBI single, bringing the lead to 11-2. and chased Bard after he threw 33 pitches in the inning. .
The United States fought back for three runs in the bottom of the eighth on Bobby Witt Jr.’s RBI double and Anderson’s two-run RBI double, but Smith flied out to center field with runners on second and third to end the inning. .