Los Angeles Times

U.S routed by Mexico, Meneses


The U.S. was pummeled by the Meneses Mauler on Sunday night, Washington Nationals slugger Joey Meneses crushing two homers and driving in five runs to lead Mexico to an 11-5 World Baseball Classic victory in front of a raucous sellout crowd of 47,534 at Chase Field in Phoenix.

Meneses, a 30-year-old journeyman who played 10 years in the minor leagues and 10 winter-ball seasons in Mexico before his breakout 2022 season with the Nationals, sent a 109-mph screamer of a line drive into the leftfield seats off San Diego Padres right-hander Nick Martinez for a two-run homer in the first inning.

Meneses reached on 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 homer to left field off Kansas City Royals righthande­r Brady Singer for a 7-1 lead in the fourth.

Angels left-hander Patrick Sandoval threw three one-run, two-hit innings, and Chicago Cubs righthande­r Javier Assad threw three scoreless, one-hit innings to help Mexico improve to 1-1 in Pool C. The U.S. fell to 1-1, making its path to the WBC quarterfin­als in Miami a little more treacherou­s.

Canada and Colombia are both 1-0. The U.S. can advance with wins over Canada on Monday night and Colombia on Wednesday night. In Canada’s 18-8 win over Britain earlier Sunday in Phoenix, Tyler O’Neill had four hits and four RBIs and Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman added two hits.

A battle between Angels teammates ended in a draw, with Sandoval striking out U.S. center fielder Mike Trout looking at a downand-in slider in the first inning and Trout drawing a one-out walk to cap a ninepitch at-bat in the third.

Dodgers catchers Will Smith and Austin Barnes also squared off against each other with Barnes, who is playing for Mexico, stealing second base off Smith in the sixth inning. Smith hit a solo homer to left to cut Mexico’s lead to 7-2.

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