Team Mexico’s top starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo did not disappoint in his first 2013 World Baseball Classic appearance, in which the Milwaukee Brewers ace dominated Team USA.
Gallardo allowed only one earned run on two hits while striking out four batters in 3.1 innings Friday night. When asked how he was able to be so successful against a talented lineup, the right-hander admitted it was not easy, but knew he was capable of getting the job done.
“They’ve got a good lineup,” he told JSOnline.com. “You don’t get any easy breaks on the other side with Team USA. I just went out there and pounded the strike zone and got out of some jams when I needed to.”
Mexico went on to defeat USA 5-2 behind Gallardo’s strong performance and a two-run home run by the team’s top slugger Adrian Gonzalez. It was a critical game for Mexico after they lost to Team Italy 6-5.
“He did a fantastic job,” said Mexico manager Rick Renteria, according to JSOnline.com. “He commanded the zone seemingly all night, and obviously did a very efficient job locating.”
The 27-year old Gallardo looked good despite concerns going into Friday about if his strained groin was going to hold up. After much debate whether he should compete for his country in the WBC, Gallardo eventually decided that it was a must to support Mexico in their quest for a medal this year. It is obviously great news for Mexico that he decided to commit, because the team would surely be lost without him.
Gallardo did not want to come out of the game in the fourth inning after he gave up a single to Jimmy Rollins and a walk to Milwaukee teammate Ryan Braun. However, Renteria was not going to allow the starter to continue after the Brewers gave him a 50-pitch maximum limit to keep the strained groin in safe condition.
“He came out OK physically,” Renteria said. “I don’t think he wanted to come out of the ballgame, but we’re trying to protect him and his organization.”
Brewers pitching coach Rick Kranitz was in attendance, along with manager Ron Roenicke. They were on hand to support their player, but to also make sure nothing out of the ordinary happened. The Brewers cannot lose Gallardo for any significant time this season, considering they will be fielding the most inexperienced starting rotation in all of Major League Baseball.