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.

Jonny Venters is still pitching

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Lefty reliever Jonny Venters was among a handful of players the Rays signed to minor league contracts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Venters, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 and has logged just 27 2/3 innings in the minors in the meantime due to a continuous battle with his elbow. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Venters has undergone four — four! — Tommy John surgeries.

When he was healthy, Venters was a fearsome late-game option for the Braves. He posted a 1.95 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 83 innings in 2010, and a 1.84 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 88 innings in 2011. His first-half performance in 2011 earned him a spot on the National League All-Star roster.

Venters has spent the last two years in the Rays’ system and he’ll try to make it a third.