August 28, 2006

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  • Not even the threat of an impending hurricane could stop Chad Allen and Team USA's offense on Monday.

    Allen's second-inning grand slam paced the United States to a 15-3 victory over border rival Mexico in pool play at the 2006 Americas Olympic Qualifying Tournament in San Jose, Cuba.

    Team USA jumped all over Mexico's starting pitcher, Juan Robles, in the top of the first, scoring four times. After leadoff hitter Skip Schumaker singled, second baseman Mark Reynolds drilled a two-run homer to center in his first at-bat of the tournament. Two more runs came home on a sacrifice fly by Allen and a groundout by Billy Butler.

    Shortstop Brandon Wood led off the top of the second with a triple and crossed the plate on a double by Kurt Suzuki, who hit the game-winning home run against Brazil on Sunday. Mexican reliever Estaban Hernandez came in and promptly loaded the bases with a fielder's choice, a hit batsman and a walk. Allen then deposited a 3-2 pitch over the left-field wall for a 9-0 lead.

    Both ends of the fourth belonged to Schumaker, as he stroked a leadoff double and scored on a Mike Kinkade single to push the advantage to 10-0. Then he made a spectacular diving catch at the wall to rob Mexico's Luis Suarez in the bottom half.

    That was more than enough support for Team USA starter Zack Segovia, who allowed one run on four hits over five innings. Mike Bacsik pitched three innings of relief before the game was called in the bottom of the eighth due to the international competition mercy rule.

    The top of manager Davey Johnson's lineup fared well as Schumaker, Reynolds and Kinkade combined to go 7-for-11 with nine runs scored and four RBIs. Bryan LaHair was the only U.S. position player without a hit, but he still scored three times.

    The emotional contest included a bench-clearing incident in the seventh. Mexican pitcher Adrian Manzano hit Jarrod Saltalamacchia with a pitch after allowing a single to Billy Butler. Manzano and Saltalamacchia exchanged words as the U.S. catcher went to first base. Both benches cleared, but order was restored without incident.

    The United States was originally scheduled to play Aruba, but after the island nation opted not to participate, the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) moved in Mexico, a team that failed to officially qualify for the event. Several participating countries, including the United States, protested the IBAF's decision to no avail.

    Team USA is scheduled to play Puerto Rico at Nelson Fernandez Stadium at 2 p.m. ET on Tuesday.

    Notes: San Jose is a small town in the Cuban countryside, approximately 40 miles from Havana. ... Team USA's hotel turned off its power Monday to test the generators for the expected arrival of Hurricane Ernesto on Monday night. ... Team USA has outscored its first three opponents, 32-13. ... Schumaker is hitting .539 (7-13) with eight runs scored as Team USA's leadoff hitter. ... Allen leads the team with two home runs and eight RBIs. ... Kinkade is batting .500 (5-10) with six runs and six RBIs. ... Mexico eliminated the United States from the 2003 Olympic qualifying event in the quarterfinals.