World hurls a gem in Futures Game

World hurls a gem in Futures Game

DETROIT -- Pitching has generally been the dominating factor in the Futures Game and Sunday's contest at Comerica Park proved to be no exception -- at least where the World Team was concerned.

The men on the mound from around the globe proved to be the big story as the World Team edged the United States, 4-0, in what was the lowest-scoring contest in series history. With the win, the World Team also snapped a two-year losing streak, earning a victory for the third time in seven Futures Games. It was also only the second shutout in series history with the World All-Stars also posting a shutout in the inaugural event in 1999.

Despite the strong effort from the pitchers, it was Justin Huber -- a first baseman -- who earned the Larry Doby Award as the most valuable player after he broke the game open with a two-run double in the fifth inning.

"It's a very huge honor," said Huber, a catcher-turned-first baseman who has seen some time with Kansas City this season. "To be around so many great players and win this is very special. This is an especially big moment for me, given that this is my third [Futures Game]. It's nice to be able to say I'm getting things going. My game hasn't been what I wanted it to be the last couple of years, and now I feel like I'm back on the right track again."

Huber wasn't the only one on the right track Sunday. Heading into the game, on paper it appeared as if the pitching staffs for the two teams were a bit mismatched. The pitchers on the U.S. squad were 71-25 with a 2.70 ERA while the World pitchers were sporting a 46-45 mark with a 3.46 ERA. Yet, it was World pitchers who didn't buckle, scattering only four hits and walking only three -- all of which came in the final inning.

Texas prospect Edison Volquez earned the victory, despite being the pitcher who allowed two of the United States hits. He pitched a scoreless second inning, working his way out of a jam after Delmon Young and Andy LaRoche sandwiched singles around a Jeremy Hermida fly ball. Volquez bore down, though, inducing an inning-ending double play out of Ryan Garko.

That proved to be the only threat the U.S. team would mount until the seventh inning, when Young and Hermida negotiated a pair of walks against Boston prospect Anibal Sanchez. World manager Guillermo Hernandez quickly turned to Canadian left-hander Adam Loewen, who got Scott Moore to fly out to left.

Loewen, who has had control issues this season, then uncorked a wild pitch to move the runners up before walking Chris Iannetta to load the bases. Kevin Frandsen, however, hit into a game-ending 1-2-3 double play to give Loewen his first save.

"I was pretty fired up," Loewen said. "That's why I threw a couple of balls high. But I made some adjustments and got the double play to end the game. I wasn't nervous when I was pitching. I was more nervous warming up in the bullpen. I'm just glad we pulled the victory out."

The World staff, which certainly put on a show that folks in baseball believe will serve as a preview of what fans can expect in next year's World Baseball Classic, retired the side in order in three of the seven innings and didn't allow an extra-base hit. Starter Francisco Liriano and Yusmeiro Petit each pitched complete innings, with Petit needing just nine pitches to get through the third.

Scott Mathieson, Juan Morillo, Fernando Nieve and Fausto Carmona each put together scoreless two-thirds of an inning stints, combining for a pair of strikeouts and no walks.

"We had an amazing pitching staff today," Mathieson said. "We were in the bullpen and we'd look up and the inning would be over. I was warming up and the next thing I knew, I was in the game. I was like, 'Geez, already?' It was a lot of fun to pitch out there like that."

The World Team got on the board in the third when Futures Game veteran Shin-Soo Choo rocketed Zach Jackson's 1-1 offering into the right-field bleachers. The Korea native, who was playing in his third Futures Game, has seven homers for Triple-A Tacoma, Seattle's top affiliate, and has even been up with the parent club for a brief stint this season.

Choo was deprived of being the game's offensive hero, though, when Huber banged a two-run double off the right-field wall in the fifth off Paul Maholm. Javier Herrera added an RBI single in the sixth off James Johnson to close out the scoring.

World Futures 4, U.S. Futures 0

 123456789RHE
 World Futures0010210xx4100
 U.S. Futures000000xxx040

World FuturesABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Betancourt, Y, SS2000000.000
a-Ramirez, H, PH-SS10100001.000
Choo, S, CF2111000.500
b-Herrera, J, PH-CF10111001.000
Morales, K, 1B2010000.500
c-Huber, J, PH-1B2012012.500
Cruz, N, RF2000011.000
d-Diaz, F, PH-RF2000022.000
Encarnacion, E, 3B2000010.000
e-Bautista, J, PH-3B10101001.000
Montero, M, C1000110.000
f-Martin, R, PH-C1000103.000
Bergolla, W, 2B4020000.500
Iribarren, H, DH4110025.250
Montanez, L, LF3210005.333
Totals3041044818 

a-Hit a sacrifice bunt for Betancourt, Y in the 5th. b-Walked for Choo, S in the 5th. c-Doubled for Morales, K in the 5th. d-Struck out for Cruz, N in the 5th. e-Walked for Encarnacion, E in the 5th. f-Popped out for Montero, M in the 5th.

BATTING
2B: Morales, K (1, Verlander, J), Huber, J (1, Maholm, P).
HR: Choo, S (1, 3rd inning off Jackson, Z, 0 on, 1 out).
TB: Ramirez, H; Choo, S 4; Herrera, J; Morales, K 2; Huber, J 2; Bautista, J; Bergolla, W 2; Iribarren, H; Montanez, L.
RBI: Choo, S (1), Huber, J 2 (2), Herrera, J (1).
2-out RBI: Herrera, J.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Cruz, N; Montanez, L 3; Martin, R 2; Huber, J 2.
S: Ramirez, H.
Team LOB: 11.

FIELDING
DP: 2 (Encarnacion, E-Bergolla, W-Morales, K, Loewen, A-Martin, R-Huber, J).

 
U.S. FuturesABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Thompson, K, LF2000000.000
Milledge, L, LF1000000.000
Upton, B, SS2000000.000
Wood, B, SS10100001.000
Jackson, C, 1B2000010.000
Barton, D, 1B1000011.000
Young, D, RF2010100.500
Hermida, J, DH2000111.000
LaRoche, A, 3B20200001.000
Moore, S, 3B1000002.000
Garko, R, C2000003.000
Iannetta, C, C0000100.000
Barfield, J, 2B2000011.000
Frandsen, K, 2B1000003.000
Young, C, CF2000000.000
Totals230403411 

BATTING
TB: Wood, B; Young, D; LaRoche, A 2.
GIDP: Garko, R; Frandsen, K.
Team LOB: 5.

 
World FuturesIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Liriano, F 1.00000100.00
Volquez, E (W, 1-0)1.02000000.00
Petit, Y 1.00000000.00
Mathieson, S 0.20000000.00
Morillo, J 0.20000100.00
Nieve, F 0.21000100.00
Carmona 0.20000000.00
Sanchez, A 0.11002100.00
Loewen, A (S, 1)1.00001000.00

U.S. FuturesIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Verlander, J 1.01000000.00
Lerew, A 1.01001100.00
Jackson, Z (L, 0-1)1.01110119.00
Zumaya, J 1.00000100.00
Maholm, P 0.122210054.00
Lambert, C 0.20001100.00
Patton, T 0.20000100.00
Johnson, J 0.131101027.00
Bowyer, T 1.02001200.00

Sanchez, A pitched to 2 batters in the 7th.

WP: Loewen, A.
Balk: Sanchez, A.
HBP: Montanez, L (by Maholm, P).
Ground outs-fly outs: Liriano, F 2-0, Volquez, E 2-1, Petit, Y 0-3, Mathieson, S 1-1, Morillo, J 1-0, Nieve, F 1-0, Carmona 2-0, Sanchez, A 0-0, Loewen, A 2-1, Verlander, J 1-2, Lerew, A 2-0, Jackson, Z 1-1, Zumaya, J 0-2, Maholm, P 1-0, Lambert, C 0-1, Patton, T 1-0, Johnson, J 0-0, Bowyer, T 0-1.
Batters faced: Liriano, F 3, Volquez, E 4, Petit, Y 3, Mathieson, S 2, Morillo, J 2, Nieve, F 3, Carmona 2, Sanchez, A 4, Loewen, A 3, Verlander, J 4, Lerew, A 5, Jackson, Z 4, Zumaya, J 3, Maholm, P 5, Lambert, C 3, Patton, T 2, Johnson, J 4, Bowyer, T 6.
Inherited runners-scored: Loewen, A 2-0, Lambert, C 2-0.
Umpires: HP: Scot Chamberlain. 1B: Keith McConkey. 2B: Christopher Tiller. 3B: D.J. Reyburn.
Weather: 87 degrees, sunny.
Wind: 10 mph, In from CF.
T: 2:06

Kevin Czerwinski is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.