PHOENIX — Running out of outs, Adam Jones and the United States suddenly broke loose and saved themselves from a humbling loss.
Now, thanks to a fast finish, they’re heading to Miami for the next round of the World Baseball Classic.
Jones doubled in the tying and go-ahead runs in the eighth inning, Eric Hosmer hit a three-run double in the ninth, and the U.S. scored seven times in the last two innings to beat Canada 9-4 on Sunday.
“Words can’t describe it,” Hosmer said, recalling how he felt standing on second base after his big hit. “It is hard to hold your emotions right there. It is just an unbelievable feeling and when you hear the crowd chant ‘USA’ and the other crowd chanting ‘Canada,’ it is an unbelievable experience.”
The winner of the game moved on, the loser went home. And for a long while, it didn’t look good for manager Joe Torre’s team.
“It would have been embarrassing,” second baseman Brandon Phillips said. “I would have been embarrassed. USA, this is where baseball started and we represent our country. I just feel that if we had lost, we didn’t do our job. We have to go out there and try to be the first American team to win the WBC. That is our goal.”
The U.S. trailed 3-2 after seven innings before rallying. Team USA and Italy each went 2-1 and advanced in Group D while Canada and Mexico went 1-2 and were eliminated.
Jones and Hosmer both had a rough week at the plate but came through with the United States on the brink of defeat. Jones’ hit was his second in nine at-bats. Hosmer, a late replacement on the U.S. roster for injured Matt Teixeira, was 3-for-13.
Torre said the U.S. lineup had too much talent not to finally come through.
“Those two balls that were hit, both Jones and Hosmer, were about as hard as you’ll ever see,” Torre said, “because I think both times the center fielder thought he had a shot at it, and he just had no chance.
“That ball just took off over their heads. They creamed those.”
Phillips, a three-time Gold Glove winner, also contributed. He made a diving stop to prevent Canada from tying it in the eighth, then doubled and scored in the ninth.