LOS ANGELES: Mike Trout smashed a three-run home run as the USA bounced back from their shock defeat to Mexico to rout Canada 12-1 in their World Baseball Classic pool game on Monday.
The star-studded US team were left reeling on Sunday after an 11-5 drubbing by Mexico that left the defending champions flirting with the possibility of first-round elimination.
But a resounding win over Canada at Chase Field in Phoenix on Monday — which included a nine-run first inning — means the Americans are now just one win away from advancing to the knock-out rounds.
The contest was effectively sealed in the first inning after US starter Lance Lynn — the baseball pitcher — quickly got rid of the opening three Canadian bats with ease.
The US then unleashed the full force of their batting line-up on Canada starter Mitch Bratt, blasting nine runs to open up a 9-0 lead.
US star Mike Trout completed the first-inning scoring spree with a monster 405-foot blast to left centre field that scored Cedric Orioles and Mookie Betts.
Although Canada got on the board with a Jared Young homer to start the second, the USA added three more runs in the bottom of the inning to race into a 12-1 lead.
The game was cut short after 6 1/2 innings due to the Classic’s mercy rule.
The US win means the defending champions will reach the quarter-finals with a victory over Colombia in Pool C on Wednesday.
Elsewhere on Monday, Puerto Rico’s Jose De Leon and three relievers combined to create a piece of tournament history with the first-ever perfect game in the World Baseball Classic in a 10-0 win over Israel.
De Leon threw 5 2/3 perfect innings before Yacksel Rios, Edwin Diaz and Duane Underwood Jr finished the job for Puerto Rico.
Enrique Hernandez’s walk-off RBI single completed the victory for Puerto Rico.
“I’ve dreamt of a moment like this, to be honest with you,” De Leon said.
“With everything that I’ve been through, I needed a moment like this to let the people in Puerto Rico know that I’m still here to stay and I want to show the world that Jose De Leon is still here,” added De Leon, whose career has been ravaged by injuries.
In other pool play games on Monday, Great Britain also claimed a piece of history with the country’s first-ever classic victory in a 7-5 win over Colombia.
“This is the beginning of Chapter 2 for Great Britain baseball and British baseball in general,” said British manager Drew Spencer.
“I think there will be people who can use this moment as inspiration to come out and play the game and to believe that someone with [Great Britain] on the front of their chest can be successful,” Spencer added.