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Votto-less Team Canada falls to Reds

Votto-less Team Canada falls to Reds

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Not wanting to betray any allegiances to either side, Reds and Canadian superstar Joey Votto not only chose to sit out Wednesday's exhibition game between his team and his country, he wasn't even in the building.

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No Votto, no problem for the Reds during a 12-2 victory at Goodyear Ballpark. Cincinnati sent nine men to the plate during a six-run bottom of the second inning that featured Ryan Ludwick's three-run home run.

In the top of the second inning, Canada appeared to be in good shape without Votto as well. After Reds starting pitcher Mat Latos issued a two-out walk to Mariners outfielder Michael Saunders, Blue Jays Triple-A left fielder Adam Loewen attacked a 2-0 pitch for a two-run homer and a 2-1 lead.

On the mound, Mark Hardy gave up a first-inning run on Neftali Soto's two-out lined single to right field and caught a break when Soto rounded too far around first base before getting tagged in a rundown. Hardy, a Double-A lefty for the Padres, wasn't so fortunate in the second.

After a leadoff single by Todd Frazier, Chris Heisey hit a double to left field. Miguel Olivo's sacrifice fly brought home Frazier, and Emmanuel Burriss followed with an RBI double to left field. Following singles by Shin-Soo Choo and Zack Cozart, Hardy's final pitch yielded a lineout by Jay Bruce.

Reliever Trystan Magnuson, a Double-A pitcher from the Blue Jays, surrendered a two-out, three-run homer over the left-field wall to his first batter -- Ludwick. In the third inning with no outs, Olivo hit a Magnuson first pitch for another three-run homer that made it a 10-2 game.

"Today, it seemed like everybody was getting that first strike and doing something with it," said Frazier, who exited after going 2-for-2 with two runs scored. "For me, that's basically what I was trying to do -- find a groove. It's Spring Training. You want to get your hits but at the same time feel comfortable at the plate. Like [manager] Dusty [Baker] says, when you get that first-pitch fastball, let's go and do some damage. That's what we did. We swung a lot and hit the ball real hard, which was pretty exciting to see."

Latos pitched three innings and gave up two runs and two hits with one walk and five strikeouts. Hardy was charged with six runs on seven hits over 1 2/3 innings.

From the Reds bullpen, Jonathan Broxton worked a scoreless inning with one hit. Sam LeCure was pretty sharp with four strikeouts over two scoreless innings.

"Not a good night," Canada manager Ernie Whitt said. "Hopefully we got it all out of the way tonight and will be ready to go on Friday. We made some mistakes defensively. We didn't swing the bats real well. We had four hits. Mind you, they had some pretty good arms throwing out there against us. But it was not a pretty game.

Canada opens first-round play in the World Baseball Classic vs. Italy at Scottsdale's Salt River Fields.

Third baseman Brett Lawrie, also a member of the Blue Jays, exited the game with a potential injury.

"He felt a little twinge in his side and we took him out as a precaution," Whitt said. "He was only going to play four innings tonight anyway. He's seeing the trainers and we'll see what goes on."

Whitt could not determine if the issue might cause Lawrie to miss time in the Classic.

"We're going to see how he is tomorrow. It's wait and see right now," Whitt said.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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