In the opener of the Pan American Games, Tommy Mendonca and the U.S. team put the rest of the world on notice.
The Rangers prospect went 3-for-4 with two doubles, six RBIs and two runs scored as the United States blew out the Dominican Republic, 20-2, on Thursday.
Selected in the second round of the 2009 Draft, Mendonca batted .278 with 25 homers and 87 RBIs in 125 games for Double-A Frisco. Through the IBAF Baseball World Cup and the opener of the Pan Am Games, the 23-year-old third baseman has hit .283 with a team-leading three homers and 13 RBIs in 12 contests.
Boston's Brett Carroll also had a huge game, going 4-for-5 with a homer, a triple, four RBIs and three runs. Other strong offensive contributors included the White Sox's Jim Gallagher, who hit a grand slam in the eighth, and the Phillies' Tuffy Gosewisch, who collected two hits, three RBIs and two runs.
Joe Thurston (Marlins) went 3-for-4 with a run out of the No. 3 spot, giving him a hit in all 11 games in which he has played. He leads Team USA starters with a .467 average.
The Astros' Andy Van Hekken allowed two unearned runs on six hits over seven innings, striking out three. He is 3-0 with a 0.43 ERA in three starts during international play.
The United States almost ended the game via the international 10-run rule after seven innings, as the team held a 10-0 lead in the mid-seventh, but the Dominican scored two in the bottom half of the frame to stay alive.
Team USA then put the game well out of reach in the eighth, sending 14 batters to the plate and scoring 10 runs on seven hits and three walks. Randy Williams (Red Sox) came on in relief to pitch a scoreless inning and end the contest.
Notes: Gallagher and James McCann (Tigers) made their debuts with the United States after joining the team for the Pan American Games. They combined to go 2-for-3 with four RBIs and two runs. ... The 7-8-9 hitters for the United States (Mendonca, Carroll and Gosewisch) went 9-for-14 with 13 RBIs and seven runs. ... Van Hekken is the only pitcher on Team USA with more than one win. ... Thursday marked the United States' first game since Oct. 14. ... Team USA finished tied for third in the World Cup after the bronze medal game was canceled due to heavy rains.