Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Juarez homers, but Mexico drops 7-3 exhibition to Padres

The Mexican National Team played the first of two exhibition games against Major League Baseball teams Tuesday, losing 7-3 to San Diego in front of 2,371 fans in Peoria, Arizona.  Luis Juarez homered and doubled while Japhet Amador and Luis Urias each had two singles for Mexico, but the Padres built a 5-0 lead after four innings and were never seriously threatened.

San Diego took an early 2-0 lead when Wil Myers doubled off Luis Mendoza to bring in Erick Aybar for one run and Hunter Renfroe's sacrifice fly sent Cory Spangenberg in from third for another.  The Padres added two more scores in the bottom of the third on Carlos Asuaje's RBI sac fly and a Jabari Blash double that drove in Myers, and Spangenberg's run-scoring two-bagger one frame later gave San Diego a five-run advantage.

 Juarez put the Verdes Grande on the board in the top of the sixth by sending a Craig Stamman slider over the left field fence, but it was too little too late.  The Padres padded their lead with two more runs when Hector Sanchez homered off Giovanny Gallegos in the sixth and Franchy Cordero double Jose Pirela in in the eighth frame.  Brandon Laird launched a two-run homer in the top of the ninth (scoring Juarez) off Kyle McGrath to narrow San Diego's lead to 7-3.  Mexico was then able to load the bases against McGrath, who was pulled for Christian Bethancourt with two out and Chris Roberson stepping up to the plate to represent the tying run. Bethancourt ended the game and earned the save by inducing Roberson to pop a 1-0 pitch to first baseman Dusty Coleman for the final out.

Walker Lockett started for the Padres and pitched two scoreless innings for the win while Mendoza took the loss after giving up four runs on five hits in two-plus innings.  Mexico will play the Arizona Diamondbacks Wednesday in Scottsdale before opening the 2017 World Baseball Classic Thursday in Guadalajara against Italy.