Madson Comes Up Big In Team USA Clincher

In Arizona, the Arizona Fall League is showcasing some of the top prospects that major league baseball has to offer. Meanwhile, other top prospects are playing for their respective countries, trying to win berths to the Olympic games in Athens. For Team USA, Phillies prospect Ryan Madson was the winning pitcher in a key qualifer.

Ryan Madson makes up just one small part of what has been a surprisingly strong Team USA pitching staff. The Team USA staff has allowed no runs – earned or unearned – in their three Olympic qualifier games. Offensively, they have scored a combined 20 runs.

Madson combined with three relievers to register the third straight shutout. The win came at the expense of Panamanian ace Lenin Picota. It also guaranteed the Americans of a first place finish in their pool play, which means they won't have to play Cuba in the semi-finals on Sunday.

Team USA got five innings out of Madson, who allowed just two hits and struck out seven hitters in his 81 pitch outing. "He got sharper as the game wore on. It was a tremendous job," remarked Team USA manager Frank Robinson. Madson pitched at AAA Scranton in 2003 and will compete for the fifth spot in the Phillies rotation next spring.

When Madson exited, J.D. Durbin of the Twins came on in relief and worked two innings. Panama almost got to Durbin in the seventh when they put runners on second and third with one out. Durbin notched a strikeout and an inning ending double play to get out of the jam. Jesse Crain, another Twins farmhand got the save, allowing one hit in the ninth inning. In between Durbin and Crain, Brian Bruney of the Diamondbacks threw a perfect inning in the eighth.

Shortstop Mike Rouse of the A's had three hits. Rouse's fifth inning double plated the first run and he then scored another urn in the eighth to put Team USA up 2-0. Ernie Young of the Tigers added an insurance run in the ninth with an opposite field homerun.

"I'm very satisfied with my team. We got outstanding pitching, and a few key hits," said Robinson. "The Panamanian team put forth an outstanding effort. It took an exceptional job on our part to win."

Team USA will play Mexico in the crossover quarterfinals on Friday and if all goes well, would play the winner of the matchup between Canada and Colombia Sunday afternoon.

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