Ben Zobrist #12 of USA high fives David Wright #5, Shane Victorino #50 and Jonathan Lucroy #22 after scoring against Canada during the ninth inning of the World Baseball Classic against Canada on March 10, 2013 in Phoenix, Arizona. (AFP)
PHOENIX - Somewhere on a desk in either Ernie Whitt or Greg Hamilton’s briefcase is a piece of paper which reads: “Jim Henderson 8th. John Axford, 9th.”
Team Canada had a 3-2 lead when Henderson took over in the eighth against Team USA in their World Baseball Classic showdown on Sunday. But Henderson, Scott Mathieson and Axford allowed seven runs in the final two innings as Team USA scored a 9-4 win to advance to the second round beginning Tuesday in Miami.
The thrilling contest, featuring lead changes in the sixth and eighth innings, was played before 22,425 fans at Chase Field, which took turns chanting: “GO CANADA GO!” and “USA! USA!”