September 3, 2006

  • Box Score   |  Scoreboard/Results
  • Team USA clinched a berth in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, with an 11-5 victory over Panama at the 2006 Americas Olympic Qualifying Event in Havana, Cuba.

    It marks the Americans' first participation in the Olympic Games since manager Tommy Lasorda's squad won the Gold medal in 2000. Current Team USA member Mike Kinkade was a member of that team as were current Major Leaguers Adam Everett, Brad Wilkerson, Ben Sheets, Roy Oswalt and Jon Rauch.

    After falling behind 1-0 in the first inning, Michael Bourn delivered a two-run triple in the bottom of the second to get the Americans' offense on track and give them a lead they would not relinquish. Bourn's shot off the left field wall scored Mark Reynolds and Brandon Wood, both of whom had singled with two outs.

    The United states added three more runs in the third inning, chasing Panama starter Elpidio Pinto in the process. Bryan LaHair and Billy Butler each had RBI singles and Jarrod Saltalamacchia had an RBI groundout.

    After Panama scored a run in the top of the fourth, Team USA widened the gap by plating four more runs in the bottom half of the inning. Butler and Saltalamacchia contributed RBI doubles in the inning to go along with a two-run error by Panama shortstop Orlando Miller. The final two U.S. runs came in the sixth on a Skip Schumaker sacrifice fly and the seventh on an RBI single off the bat of Bobby Hill.

    LaHair, Butler and Bourn each had two RBIs in the victory, while Hill went 3-for-4 with two runs scored. Brandon Wood had two hits and scored three times.

    Team USA starter Greg Smith worked into the fourth before giving way to reliever Nic Ungs, who pitched 3 2/3 innings of relief and was credited with the win. Lee Gronkiewicz and Jeff Farnsworth closed the door over the final two frames.

    Miller finished the game a single shy of the cycle for Panama as he went 3-for-5 with three RBIs and two runs scored.

    Team USA will now play unbeaten Cuba (7-0) on Tuesday at 8pm at Latino Americano Stadium in Havana. The two teams have not met at this level of competition since Sheets blanked the Cubans in the Gold medal game in 2000. Both squads have already clinched the two Olympic berths from this competition.

    NOTES: The game was delayed 45 minutes due to rain earlier in the day. ... Chicago White Sox pitcher Jose Contreras was a member of the 2000 Cuban National Team. ... Team USA bullpen coach Roly DeArmas was ejected in the fourth inning after arguing a play at second base. ... Former Major Leaguer Sherman Obando was the designated hitter for Panama. He went 0-for-3 with an RBI. Obando last played in the U.S. in 1998 as a member of the Colorado Rockies organization and has been playing in Japan since 1999. ... Kinkade was the only U.S. starter without a hit. ... Team USA failed to homer for the first time since its opening game against Canada.