TORONTO -- With big league stars on both sides and national pride at stake, the
"This is a playoff atmosphere," U.S. pitcher
Despite a roster loaded with major league All-Stars, that U.S. squad stumbled to a disappointing eighth-place finish -- a big reason this club has talked about taking back America's game.
The intensity was evident. A fired-up McCann yelled and embraced Putz near the mound after the New York Mets reliever stranded the potential tying run at second base when
"It was unbelievable," Putz said. "That was definitely the loudest crowd I've ever been a part of. I haven't pitched in the playoffs, so this is what I think playoff baseball would seem like. It was awesome out there."
"Out here it was opening day, but with the excitement and the importance of getting off to a good start, you could compare that to Game 1 of a World Series," he said. "You want to get that first win out of the way and then you can take a deep breath."
"I just tried to get ahead of him and we were able to," Putz said. "We tried to get him to chase some sliders and he laid off a couple of good ones. With [Matt] Stairs sitting on deck, he's a guy that I've had some trouble with in the past, so I really wanted to focus in and try to get Bay to end the game."
Watching the ninth inning from the dugout after going 2-for-3,
"It was one of those situations where you're on the edge of your seat," Jeter said. "It's a lot more nerve-racking watching, I think, than it is playing."
"They're definitely the team to beat," Martin said. "It's the American pastime and it's their game, but we're getting better and better."
Votto, born and raised in suburban Toronto, went 4-for-5 with two RBI before a lively crowd of 42,314.
"I can't see, if you're a baseball fan, how you can't get into this tournament," Peavy said.
The U.S. can advance to the second round with a victory in its next game, Sunday night against Venezuela. Canada will play Italy on Monday night, hoping to avoid elimination in Group C.
Peavy lasted three innings, allowing two runs and two hits. He walked three and struck out four.
"I felt like I got a lot accomplished today," he said. "I felt like I had a lot of good pitches. I didn't have any kind of breaking ball, which made it difficult to put guys away."
Canada opened the scoring in the first when Martin walked, went to third on Votto's single and scored on Morneau's fielder's choice.
Bay walked and
"In the first inning I maybe was trying to do a little more than I can at this time of year," Peavy said. "I just toned it down a little bit and felt like I made a lot of good pitches after I settled down."
The U.S. tied it in the second on McCann's sacrifice fly.
Votto homered into the second deck in right-center in the third, but Canada's lead was short-lived.
Youkilis tied it with a homer to right to begin the fourth. Dunn followed with a walk and, one out later, McCann drilled the first pitch he saw into the U.S. bullpen in right.
Canada got one back in the sixth when Bay scored on
Martin homered off
Rollins pinch ran after Jeter's leadoff single in the fifth, but was later thrown out trying to steal second.
- Hall of Fame manager and WBC ambassador Tommy Lasorda threw out the first pitch.
- Votto has three hits in three career at-bats against Peavy.
- The U.S. left the bases loaded in the seventh and eighth.