Play for the 2009 Baseball World Cup began on Thursday afternoon.
The United States bullpen gave up a 7-1 lead in the late innings and dropped a 13-9 decision to Venezuela in 11 frames. Luckily for Rangers fans, Kasey Kiker was not involved in the carnage, as he didn't play.
First baseman Justin Smoak did play, however, and he was dominant at the plate. The three-hole hitter went 4-for-6 with two doubles, two home runs, and five runs batted in.
The Canadians took home a 9-1 victory over South Korea, but lone Rangers representative Emerson Frostad did not play in the game. Former Rangers prospect Tim Smith was the designated hitter, and he led the way offensively, going 2-for-4 with a homer and three runs batted in.
69-75, 11.0 GB
The RedHawks failed to qualify for the Pacific Coast League playoffs.
39-31, 2.0 GB
The RoughRiders failed to qualify for the Texas League playoffs.
W - Tufts (1-0)
HR - Mendonca (1, 2), Gac (1), Lawson (1), Paisano (1)
1-1 (Best of Three)
After 2.5 innings, the Bakersfield Blaze appeared to be well on their way out of the California League playoffs.
Starting pitcher Tanner Roark, who was outstanding down the stretch, served up three home runs in just three innings pitched, leading to four Modesto runs.
Right-hander Tyler Tufts—a late-inning relief for much of the season—took over in the fourth and pitched three innings of one-run ball. He walked zero and struck out three.
And then the Bakersfield offense went to work.
Facing former Rockies first-round pick and top prospect Christian Friedrich, David Paisano smacked a two-run homer in the bottom of the third.
Leadoff hitter Matt Lawson followed with a solo shot to bring the Blaze within one run. Lawson also singled and doubled on the night.
Things remained relatively quiet until the bottom of the sixth, when Bakersfield busted out for seven runs to both take the lead and put the game away.
First baseman Ian Gac (2/3, HR, 2 BB) led off the frame with a monster home run. Then third baseman Tom Mendonca backed it up with another round-tripper, giving Bakersfield back-to-back homers again.
Mendonca added a two-run shot in the bottom of the eighth for good measure.
Davis Stoneburner (2/5), Joey Butler (2/3, 2 BB) and Doug Hogan (2/5) all singled twice.
Bakersfield's victory sets up a deciding third game in the best-of-three series. It will be played on Friday evening at Bakersfield's Sam Lynn Ballpark.
30-40, 15.5 GB
The Crawdads failed to qualify for the South Atlantic League playoffs.
37-39, 10.0 GB
The Indians played much better late in the season, but they still failed to qualify for the Northwest League playoffs.
12-16, 4.5 GB
The AZL Rangers failed to quality for the Arizona League playoffs.
18-45, 29.5 GB
The DSL Rangers1 failed to qualify for the Dominican Summer League playoffs.
47-15, 9.0 GU
After winning the division, the DSL Rangers2 got a bye in the first round of the playoffs, but they were swept in the best-of-three Dominican Summer League semifinal series.
Subscribe to LoneStarDugout.com today! Only $79.95 brings you one full year of Total Access Pass and all premium content on LoneStarDugout.com, Scout™ Player and Roster Database (including the 'Hot News' at the top of the site), Breaking News and Information, Total Access to all Scout.com Websites, and Player Pages, detailing the progress and careers of players from high school, the minors, and the pro ranks.
Sample the LoneStarDugout.com Total Access Pass™ at no risk for 7 days, then pay only $7.95 or $21.95. If you want to save 2 months off the monthly subscription price, simply choose the annual LoneStarDugout.com Total Access Pass™ at $79.95.