Behind Adrian Gonzalez, Mexico defeats USA

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Mexico first baseman and clean-up hitter Adrian Gonzalez went 1-for-2 with a two-run home run, two walks, and three runs batted in, helping his team to a 5-2 victory over the United States. Gonzalez’s homer came in the third inning with two outs, pushing Mexico’s lead to 4-0 at the time. Lead-off hitter Eduardo Arredondo added three hits, including a double.

Mexico starter Yovani Gallardo, recently dealing with a strained groin, lasted three and one-third innings, allowing one run on two hits and a walk while striking out four. He was taken out of the game after walking Ryan Braun with a pitch count approaching 50. USA starter R.A. Dickey went four innings, throwing a total of 62 pitches. He allowed four runs on six hits and no walks while striking out two. Glen Perkins, in relief of Dickey, allowed a run on a Luis Cruz sacrifice fly.

The US attempted a comeback late when Braun doubled to lead off the eighth inning. Eric Hosmer drove him in with a single to right, shrinking Mexico’s lead to three runs at 5-2. Giancarlo Stanton flied out to end the threat and the inning. Sergio Romo pitched a perfect ninth to seal the victory for Mexico.

The US joins Canada at 0-1 in Pool D while 1-1 Mexico moves into second place behind 2-0 Italy. Canada and Mexico will play at 2:30 PM ET tomorrow, followed by the U.S. vs. Italy at 9 PM ET. If Mexico defeats Canada tomorrow, Italy could be playing to eliminate the US from the tournament.

Blue Jays shut down Steve Pearce for the rest of 2017

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The Blue Jays have shut down left fielder Steve Pearce for the remainder of the season following a lingering case of lower back stiffness. Pearce has not appeared in a game since September 8, when he was forced to exit in the first inning after experiencing back pain during his at-bat. Per Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca, he’s scheduled to return to Florida next week, where he’ll receive epidural injections to address the pain.

Pearce, 34, impressed in his first season with Toronto. He battled through a calf injury during the first half of the season and finished the year with a modest .252/.319/.438 batting line, 13 home runs and a .757 OPS through 348 PA. By September, the Blue Jays started testing the waters with outfield prospect Teoscar Hernandez, who shouldered the bulk of the starts in left field after Pearce was sidelined with back issues.

With the Blue Jays all but eliminated from playoff contention, however, there’s no rush to get Pearce back to the outfield. He should be in fine shape to compete for another starting role in spring, and could face stiff competition from Hernandez if the rookie continues building on his .278 average and three home runs this month. The veteran outfielder is slated to receive the remaining $6.25 million on his contract in 2018 and will be eligible for free agency in 2019.

Brewers’ Julio Mendez remains hospitalized after hit by pitch

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Brewers’ minor league infielder Julio Mendez remains in “critical but stable condition,” club GM David Stearns announced Friday. Back in August, Mendez suffered a cardiac event after he was inadvertently struck by a ball from the Angels’ Austin Krzeminksi during a game between the rookie-level affiliates. The 20-year-old was removed to a Phoenix-area hospital for treatment following the incident and has recently been transferred to a hospital in his native Venezuela.

Mendez was in his fourth season with the Brewers’ organization. He spent the majority of his 2017 run with the rookie-level AZL Brewers, slashing .255/.294/.355 with 10 extra-base hits, 16 RBI and four stolen bases over 119 plate appearances. He currently holds a career .241/.324/.309 batting line, 33 extra bases and a .633 OPS through 668 PA.

Baseball is still on the back burner, however, as Mendez appears to have made little progress nearly a month following the hit by pitch. Thoughts go out to his family during this difficult time.