Game Notes: The 2007 IBAF World Cup
United States vs. Mexico
Nov. 7, 2007 at Intercontinential (Taichung,Taiwan)

Box Score >

Game: USA 3 - MEX 0
Date: 11/7/07
WP: Karstens (1-0)
LP: Rodriguez (0-1)
SV Booker (1)

Game One Wednesday, November 7 6:00 p.m. Mexico (Intercontinental)
Game Two Thursday, November 8 12:00 p.m. Panama (Intercontinental)
Game Three Friday, November 9 12:00 p.m. Italy (Taichung)
Game Four Saturday, November 10 6:00 p.m. Japan (Intercontinental)
Game Five Sunday, November 11 6:00 p.m. Spain (Taichung)
Off-Day Monday, November 12
Game Six Tuesday, November 13 12:00 p.m. South Africa (Taichung)
Game Seven Wednesday, November 14 6:00 p.m. Chinese Taipei (Intercontinental)
Off Day Thursday, November 15
Quarter-Finals* Friday, November 16 TBD
Semi-Finals* Saturday, November 17 TBD
Finals* Sunday, November 18 TBD
*If Necessary

Team USA Manager Davey Johnson and his coaching return for what will be their final tune-up before the 2007 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. Johnson, a former MLB All-Star will lead Team USA back to the Olympics after finishing first overall at the COPABE Tournament of the Americas in Havana, Cuba in 2006. Before joining Team USA Johnson had managed four major league teams (NY Mets, Cincinnati Reds, Baltimore Orioles, Los Angeles Dodgers) taking three of them to the playoffs and winning the 1986 World Series with the New York Mets. He will be joined by pitching coach Marcel Lachemann (Colorado Rockies), hitting coach Reggie Smith, third base coach Rick Eckstein and auxiliary coaches Dick Cooke (Davidson College) and Roly DeArmas (Philadelphia Phillies)

KARSTENS TO OPEN: New York Yankee prospect and teammate of Taiwan pitching icon Chien-Ming Wang gets the start in Team USA's opener against Mexico. Karstens who is making his international debut for the US appeared in seven games for the New York Yankees this year posting a 1-4 record. He fractured his right fibula on April 28 when he was hit by a line drive from Boston Red Sox second basemen Julio Lugo on the games first pitch causing him to miss three-months of the 2007 season.

SOLE SURVIVOR: Reliever Lee Gronkiewicz is the only returning player from the 2006 Olympic qualifying team. Gronkiewicz posted a 1-0 record in five relief appearances in Cuba, striking out seven in five innings for Team USA.

OPENING CEREMONIES WASHED OUT: Team USA was supposed to make the two-hour trip to Taipei City on Tuesday to participate in the World Cup opening ceremonies but heavy rain washed out the festivities and canceled the opening game between Chinese Taipei and Italy.

TEAM USA IN THE WORLD CUP: Team USA has not won gold at the IBAF World Cup since 1974 when they defeated Nicaragua two games to one in a best of three series final. Below is a list of Team USA's results in their last ten World Cup appearances.

Year    Finish
2005    Seventh place
2003    Fifth place
2001    Second place (Silver)
1998    Ninth place
1994    Eighth place
1990    Eight place
1988    Second place (Silver)
1986    Fourth place
1984    Third place (Bronze)
1982    Third Place (Bronze)

A rainy afternoon in Taichung, Taiwan gave way to a foggy evening as Team USA took the field as the visiting team in their World Cup opener against Mexico. Both teams started slowly as Mexico lefty Hector Rodriguez held the U.S. hitless into the fifth. But after getting a quick two outs right-fielder Justin Ruggiano was hit by a pitch and catcher Jason Jarmillio singled to right for Team USA's first hit. A walk to SS Brian Bixler bought CF Colby Rasmus to the plate and Rodriguez, seemingly rattled, uncorked a wild pitch plating Ruggiano for the games first run. Rasmus then walked and second Basemen Jayson Nix ripped a bases loaded single to right scoring Jaramillo and Bixler and ending Hector Rodriguez' night.

Team USA's Jeff Karstens was magnificent, scattering five hits through six innings, striking out two, walking one while not giving up a run before giving way to USA veteran Lee Gronkiewicz in the seventh. Karstens has become a fan favorite here in Taiwan because of his friendship with Yankee teammate Chien Ming Wang. Gronkiewicz pitched a perfect seventh and got the first two outs in the eighth before giving way to lefty Neil Musser after a two out double by Mexico left fielder Lorenzo Buelna. Musser induced a ground ball to second basemen Jayson Nix to end the eighth. Chris Booker came in to pitch a scoreless ninth for the save and Team USA had it's first win of the tournament 3-0.

Jayson Nix was 1-4 with a walk and two RBI; Jason Jarmillio was 2-4 with a run scored. Justin Ruggiano was hit in the left arm by a pitch in the fifth that ignited a three-run rally. Team USA plays Panama (1-0) tomorrow at noon. Panama defeated Spain 5-0 earlier today.