August 19, 2006
by Zach McCann / Special to

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  • KISSIMMEE, Fla. - Going into Saturday, United States manager Davey Johnson had concerns about his team's offense.

    His team eased his worry with 14 hits in a 16-5 victory over Puerto Rico Saturday night in an exhibition game at Osceola County Stadium. The game ended after seven innings because of the ten-run rule.

    Bryan LaHair was 3-3 with two homers and five RBI in the cleanup spot and Mike Kinkade went 2-for-4 with a homer and an RBI.

    Skip Schumaker, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Billy Butler and Brandon Wood each had two hits.

    "The guys were more relaxed today and more selective at the plate. That showed with all the runs we scored," Johnson said. "The guys had been off a few days and were brand new to each other. It's nice to see us come together and score some runs."

    LaHair, a Mariners' prospect, is 6-for-8 in two games against Puerto Rico.

    "I like him a lot," Johnson said. "He's a gamer. He plays hard and he showed a little bit of his power today."

    U.S. pitcher Nick Adenhart started the game with three shutout innings. Kevin Slowey followed and allowed three runs in three innings, and Mike Bacsik gave up two runs in the final inning of the game.

    Analyzing the different pitchers was as important as the pitcher's results for Johnson.

    "I've seen all the pitching I need to see for the first round in Cuba," Johnson said.

    The U.S. offensive explosion was capped off by a nine-run sixth inning. In that inning, Wood and Bobby Hill had RBI doubles while LaHair and Kinkade hit homers.

    In the fifth inning, Saltalamacchia and Butler hit back-to-back doubles followed by a Schumaker RBI single to put the U.S. up 7-3.

    Everything went right for the U.S. and the players are starting to grow closer.

    "All of these guys came in from their different clubs and at first try to do a little bit too much," Johnson said. "Tonight they really felt less pressure and it showed."

    Ten separate Americans scored and eight guys had RBIs. They were 6-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

    Puerto Rico's Eduardo Alvarado was 1-for-3 with a home runs and two RBI. Luis Figueroa chipped in two RBI in the losing effort.

    NOTES: LaHair has a .800 on-base percentage in two games. ... Adenhart struck out four batters. ... Three Americans were hit by pitches. ... The U.S. committed no errors. ... The game was delayed an hour and fifteen minutes due to rain.