AJAX, Ont. – Canada couldn't eliminate the United States from the Pan Am Games, yet its first loss of the tournament didn't injure much on the eve of the semifinals.
A 4-1 defeat Friday night ended Canada's unbeaten run & kept the U.S. alive. Having already clinched the first seed, Canada gets to face Puerto Rico on Saturday night for a spot in the gold-medal game while the Americans play Cuba.
Canada earned that by opening preliminary-round play with five straight victories, a run that included an 11-4 rout of Puerto Rico on Thursday night. Right-hander Phillippe Aumont is on regular rest & could obtain the nod to start in the semis.
p>Puerto Rico will be without first baseman Nelson Gomez, disqualified for testing positive for an anabolic steroid.
"Missing his offensive play will lower the level of team," manager Edwin Rodriguez said. "But in terms of their motivation & morally, the team is doing well."
After beat Colombia Friday afternoon, Dominican Republic manager Denio Gonzalez said he was "100 per cent with Canada" because a U.S. loss would've put that team into the semifinals.
Instead, the Dominican Republic is out, as U.S. starter Nate Smith, an Anaheim Angels prospect, struck out 10 Canadian batters in 5 2-3 innings to set up a matchup against Cuba. Skyler Stromsmoe had one of Canada's seven hits off Smith, an RBI single in the first.
Canadian starter Jared Mortensen only allowed five hits yet paid much more for them. Mortensen lasted just 3 2-3 innings after those five hits combined with two walks produced four runs for the U.S.
The Abbotsford, B.C., native was perfect with two outs in the third when the wheels came off. Three consecutive singles tied the score, & a walk set the table for Atlanta Braves minor leaguer Tyler Pastornicky to drive in two runs.
Pastornicky's single was the Americans' first hit with the bases loaded at these Games after starting 0-for-10 in that situation.
Trailing 4-1 after Patrick Kivlehan's RBI double, the Canadians threatened twice against the U.S. bullpen. They stranded two in the sixth & left the bases loaded in the seventh & wound up with their first loss of the tournament.
Note â€” Canada's women's baseball team was in attendance a few days before beginning competition. Women's baseball is in the Pan Am Games for the first time. … Reliever Shane Dawson, a 2012 Toronto Blue Jays draft pick, allowed just two hits in 5 1-3 shutout innings.
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Source: “The Canadian Press”