Team USA beats Canada to remain unbeaten
PHOENIX -- Bill Murphy pitched six solid innings and Team USA finished regional Olympic qualifying unbeaten with a 5-2 victory over Canada on Saturday.
Howie Kendrick homered and drove in two runs and Shane Victorino had an RBI double for Team USA (5-0), which won the six-team tournament.
Canada, Nicaragua and Panama also advanced to the 2006 Americas Continental Olympic qualifyier in Cuba in August. Mexico (2-3) and Guatemala (0-5) were eliminated in round-robin play.
Murphy allowed one run on seven hits. Matt Smith followed with two scoreless innings, and Jim Miller got the last three outs despite giving up a solo homer to Scott Thorman.
Jeff Mathis broke a 1-1 tie with a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning, and Victorino's double against reliever Eric Cyr proved decisive, raising the score to 3-1 in the eighth. Victorino then scored on a sacrifice fly by Kendrick.
Kendrick hit a solo shot in the first inning against Mike Meyers.
The Canadians tied it in the second on three, two-out singles, the last by Todd Betts for an RBI.
Panama advanced as Audes de Leon homered and Miguel Gomez won for the second time in two starts in regional Olympic qualifying, lifting Panama to a 12-1 victory over Guatemala.
The victory clinched the fourth and final berth in next summer's Americas Olympic Qualifying tournament. Panama (2-3) held a head-to-head tiebreaker over Mexico (2-3) after beating the Mexican team 17-4 on the first day of round-robin play.
This game was another display of offense by Panama, ending in seven innings because of a 10-run rule.
Meanwhile, in Mesa, Oswaldo Mairena worked seven innings, helping Nicaragua knock out Mexico with a 4-2 victory.
Nicaragua (3-2) was already set for the next round of Olympic qualifying -- starting Aug. 22. Mexico (2-3) needed to win to have the tiebreaker with Panama.
But Nicaraguan reliever Boanerges Espinoza struck out pinch-hitter Carlos Rodriguez, the potential tying run, to end the game.
Mairena, who played for the Cubs and Marlins during a brief major-league career, allowed one run on six hits and a walk. Olman Rostran worked a hitless eighth before Espinoza came on for the save.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press
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