SAN DIEGO — Hometown favorite Adam Jones hit a tying home run leading off the eighth inning and Eric Hosmer added a two-run shot three batters later as the United States rallied to beat Venezuela 4-2 on Wednesday night in the second round of the World Baseball Classic.
After being shut down for the first five innings by Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez, the Americans broke through against Venezuela’s bullpen.
Hosmer, the MVP of the 2016 All-Star Game at Petco Park, singled leading off the seventh and scored on Jonathan Lucroy’s sacrifice fly.
Hector Rondon (0-1) started the eighth for Venezuela and Jones, who played at Morse High about 8 miles east of Petco Park, homered to right-center to tie it at 2.
Christian Yelich singled and Nolan Arenado flied out before Hosmer muscled a shot an estimated 418 feet to right-center for the lead.
Hosmer hit a solo homer and an RBI single in the American League’s 4-2 win at the 2016 All-Star Game in San Diego.
Luke Gregerson of the Houston Astros, who played his first five big league seasons with the San Diego Padres, pitched the ninth for the save.
Pat Neshek (1-0), who had a brief stint with the Padres in 2011, worked the eighth for the win.
Hernandez scattered three singles, struck out three and walked none.
King Felix made it through two heart-stopping moments in the first.
He appeared to tweak something in his right leg while fielding Jones’ swinging bunt and throwing him out for the second out. After being checked by a trainer and throwing two warmup pitches, Hernandez stayed in the game. Yelich then hit a comebacker that knocked Hernandez’s glove off.
With a befuddled look on his face, the pitcher picked up the ball and threw out Yelich to end the inning.
The Americans threatened only once against Hernandez, and failed to come through. He allowed three consecutive singles to Lucroy, Alex Bregman and Ian Kinsler with one out in the third before Jones grounded into a double play.
Rougned Odor homered with two outs in the seventh for a 2-0 lead for Venezuela, which beat Italy 4-3 in a tiebreaker game in Guadalajara, Mexico, on Monday night to advance out of Pool D.
Odor homered to right off David Robertson. Knowing it was gone, the Texas Rangers second baseman clapped his hands as he broke out of the box. On Monday night, he hit a high drive to left-center and stood and watched as it bounced off the top of the wall and back into play for a go-ahead RBI single in the ninth inning.
Ender Inciarte had a sacrifice fly in the third for Venezuela.