Costly errors sink U.S., Canada wins Pan Am baseball gold in wild final

AJAX, Ont. — A botched pick off and two American errors in the bottom of the 10th inning led to two runs as Canada's men's baseball team edged the United States 7-6 on Sunday to defend its Pan American baseball title.

U.S. pitcher David Huff tried to pick off Pete Orr at first base, but his throw went into right field to score Skyler Stromsmoe. The right-fielder's throw to third then went wide, allowing Orr to score the winning run as the Canadians beat the Americans for Pan Am gold for the second straight Games.

The international tie-breaker was put in place in extra innings, meaning each team begins the frame with runners on first and second.

The U.S. had taken a 6-4 lead in the top of the 10th with Tyler Pastornicky's two-run single off Chris Leroux.

Orr cut the deficit to 6-5 when his single off Huff scored Tyson Gillies.

Rene Tosoni hit a three-run shot for Canada and Jordan Lennerton had a sacrifice fly for his team-leading ninth run batted in of the tournament.

Left-hander Jeff Francis of North Delta, B.C., who had been used as a closer during the preliminary round of the tournament, went seven innings, giving up four runs on eight hits while striking out seven. Andrew Albers pitched 2 1-3 innings and Leroux worked 2-3 of the 10th for the win.

Patrick Kivlehan had three hits for the U.S., including a two-run homer, and Albert Almora and Jacob Wilson had a run batted in apiece.

American starter Josh Hader pitched three innings, giving up three runs on three hits while striking out three. Huff took the loss.

Albers worked his way out of a jam in the ninth inning, getting a strikeout and groundout to strand Kivlehan — the go-ahead run — on second base.

The U.S. took a 2-0 lead in the second on Kivlehan's two-run homer. The Americans added another run in the third when Wilson drove in Andrew Parrino with a sacrifice fly.

Tosoni hit a three-run homer off Hader in the bottom of the third to tie the game 3-3.

Canada took the lead in the bottom of the fifth. Orr led off the inning with a single off pitcher Buddy Baumann, stole second base, advanced to third on a throwing error to catcher Thomas Murphy and crossed the plate on a sac fly from Lennerton.

But the U.S. tied the game again in the seventh. Kivlehan led off with a double to left-field and advanced to third on a ground out before Almora drove him in with a single that just got past shortstop Jamieson.

Canada had a chance to add some runs in the bottom of the seventh, putting runners at first and third with one out. But Baumann struck out Tosoni and Coleman got a ground out from pinch hitter Tim Smith to escape unscathed.

Canada had the bases loaded with two out in the first inning but Hader struck out Brock Kjeldgaard to end the frame.

Earlier Sunday, Jose Garcia hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth to lift Cuba's men's baseball team to a 7-6 victory over Puerto Rico for the bronze medal.

NOTE: Canada beat the U.S. 2-1 in the 2011 Pan Am final in Guadalajara, Mexico.

The Canadian Press