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Team USA cruises by Canada, advances to Round 2

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The win over Canada gives the US another shot at the Dominican Republic in Round 2 pool play

Baseball: World Baseball Classic-Colombia at USA
Christian Yelich wasn’t in the starting lineup in Team USA’s first game, but he should be a fixture moving forward
Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

Editor’s note: An earlier version stated that Mexico, not Venezuela, would be playing in Monday’s tiebreaker game. We regret MLB’s confusion over its own rules.

Danny Duffy struck out seven in four scoreless innings, and Nolan Arenado and Buster Posey went deep to lift Team USA to an 8-0 win over Canada and through to the second round, which begins Tuesday in San Diego.

Following in the footsteps of Chris Archer and Marcus Stroman, Duffy gave the US another strong performance from a starter. He struck out the side in the first, retired the first eight he faced, and yielded just two singles and no walks. The three starters combined to strike out 11 and issue no walks in 12 23 scoreless innings.

Posey, Adam Jones, Christian Yelich, Eric Hosmer and Brandon Crawford all had two-hit games for the Americans, whose offense broke out in their third game with seven extra-base hits.

Canadian starter Ryan Dempster faced six batters but retired just one. Team Canada struck out 15 times, drew just one walk and had only four hits.

Following Saturday’s devastating blown lead, the Americans were determined to put it behind them and start Sunday’s game on the right foot. After Duffy struck out the side in the first, the offense quickly went to work. Hosmer’s double with the bases loaded plated two runs, and Posey made it a 3-0 game with a run-scoring groundout.

Team USA continued to pour it on an inning later. With two runners on base, Arenado crushed the first pitch he saw over the wall in left-center field for his first hit in the World Baseball Classic. Later in the second, Posey’s single scored Hosmer to extend the US advantage to 7-0 through two.

Duffy got out of his only jam when the rival Canadians hit a pair of singles with two outs in the third. After the US hammered Dempster and Andrew Albers, Canada’s bullpen finally settled in and matched the American staff. Scott Richmond and four other relievers combined to allow just one American run over the final six innings.

Unlike Saturday’s loss to the Dominican Republic, there was no meltdown from the Team USA bullpen Sunday. Mychal Givens rebounded from a rough appearance Friday with two strikeouts in an inning, and Tyler Clippard punched out four in two frames. Jake McGee and Nate Jones combined for the final two innings to finish the shutout.

Posey’s solo homer in the seventh accounted for the final score.

With the win, Team USA moves on to pool play in Round 2. It joins the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, who both won their pools with 3-0 records, along with a fourth team to be determined by Monday’s tiebreaking game between Venezuela and Italy. The US resumes play Wednesday night at Petco Park against that winner.

Following the game, Dominican third baseman Manny Machado was named Pool C MVP. He had five hits in three games including the solo home run against Team USA that started a stretch of seven unanswered runs in the Dominican Republic’s comeback win Saturday.