Sports Outside the Beltway

U.S. Team Waits to Learn Fate in WBC

U.S. Team Waits to Learn Fate in WBC

Johnny Damon and his U.S. teammates had a hard time figuring out exactly what needed to happen for the Americans to advance in the World Baseball Classic.

It was complicated — and all worked out fine for the U.S. team on Thursday night when Mexico scored four runs in the top of the first inning against Canada.

“This tiebreaker stuff, you’ve got to go to school for it,” Damon, the New York Yankees’ latest addition, said in the Scottsdale Stadium dugout before a workout. “I thought there would be a clear-cut winner and a clear-cut loser. … It’s definitely a weird feeling.”

After losing to Canada 8-6 in a first-round game Wednesday night, Team USA’s fate Thursday was in the hands of the Canadians and their next opponent, Mexico. Those teams played at Chase Field in Phoenix.

If Canada wins and the United States defeats South Africa on Friday, the Americans would reach next week’s second round in Anaheim, Calif. Even if the U.S. team lost to South Africa, it would have to get beat by more than seven runs because Team USA has the tiebreaker against Mexico after its 2-0 win Tuesday.

But if Mexico beat Canada to leave a three-way tie at 2-1, Team USA would have moved on only if Mexico scored at least three runs. Mexico ended that suspense with four straight doubles off Canada starter Jeff Francis to take a 4-0 lead.

The three-way tiebreaker is based on runs allowed.

In this odd system, the United States would’ve been eliminated — before it plays South Africa — if Mexico had beaten Canada by scores of 1-0, 2-0 or 2-1.

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