Jorge Lopez had a rough go of it during his first couple appearances for the Brewers in the Cactus League, but he's turned it around since the start of the World Baseball Classic.
The right hander has been one of the bright spots for Puerto Rico so far in the tournament, and continued his success in international competition Saturday, striking out 5 over 4.1 innings while only allowing 2 hits, 2 walks and 1 earned run.
Great work on the mound tonight by @yabiee18 for Puerto Rico in @WBCBaseball. In 4.1 innings, he allowed just 2 hits & 1 run, & had 5Ks. pic.twitter.com/u6kYPbjTFp— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) March 12, 2017
Lopez picked up a win as Team PR improved to 2-0 in pool play with a 9-4 win.
The neighbors to the north have had a tough time in this year's tournament, dropping to 0-2 in pool play after losing 4-1 to Colombia. Brewers scout Pete Orr has been manning second base for the Canadians, but like most of the team's lineup he's been struggling with the bat. Orr went 0-for-3 on Saturday with a strikeout.
The big story of the game was the return of Eric Gagne, who's trying to return to the majors for the first time since 2008, when he pitched for the Brewers. The now-41-year-old is reportedly back to throwing in the mid-90s, which is significantly harder than what he threw 10 years ago. Gagne threw 2.1 scoreless innings on Saturday, allowing just one hit and striking out two. The outing was impressive enough to generate plenty of buzz from scouts after the game.
Other WBC Results:
Dominican Republic 7, United States 5: The Dominicans are the heavy favorites to retain their WBC crown, but Team USA had the defending champs on the ropes for much of Saturday night. The Americans carried a 5-0 lead heading into the bottom of the 6th before allowing 7 unanswered runs -- including 4 in the 8th -- and losing 7-5. Andrew Miller was charged with the loss after allowing 4 runs on 3 hits, with most of the damage coming on a three-run home run by Nelson Cruz.
Venezuela 11, Italy 10: So much offense, Venezuela didn't even need the contributions of Hernan Perez. Latin Babe Ruth did enter the game as a pinch-runner in the 7th inning but didn't score.
Israel 4, Cuba 1: While we're still in pool play in North America, the second round is getting underway across the Pacific. Team Israel continues to be undefeated in this year's WBC, pulling off another win against Cuba. Cody Decker pinch-hit for Ike Davis and went 0-for-2 with a strikeout, but still continues to have more fun than anyone else in the tournament.
Japan 8, Netherlands 6 (F/11): Nori Aoki went 2-for-4 with two more walks and scored two runs for the two-time WBC champs. Aoki was one of the two runners to start the 11th inning on base as part of the extra inning rule to bring games to a quick conclusion. It worked, as Japan immediately used a sac bunt to move runners to second and third, following it up with a two-run single.
Dominican Republic vs. Colombia, 11:30 a.m. CDT
Italy vs. Puerto Rico, 2:30 p.m. CDT
Canada vs. United States, 6 p.m. CDT
Mexico vs. Venezuela, 9 p.m. CDT