Andruw Jones hits HR as Netherlands beats Padres

The Netherlands has done a lot of travelling for the World

Baseball Classic.

The journey started with a training camp in Arizona. Then the

Dutch national team opened the international tournament in

Taichung, Taiwan, flew to Tokyo for the second round and stopped in

Arizona for a two exhibitions before they head to San Francisco for

the WBC semifinals.

Andruw Jones hit a towering home run and the Netherlands

defeated the San Diego Padres 9-3 Thursday night in their first

exhibition. The Dutch will play against Seattle on Friday.

Few, if any, expected the Netherlands to rack up frequent-flyer

miles. A first-round exit was realistic, and a second-round exit

seemed certain in a pool with Japan, Chinese Taipei and Cuba.

The Netherlands kept on advancing, and these underdogs are now

two wins from a WBC championship. Next up is a to-be-determined

opponent in Monday’s semifinal.

The Netherlands took Wednesday off to recover from jet lag, but

got back to work Thursday with a focus that has carried the Dutch

through tough times.

”We’re not just happy to be here. We believe we can win this

tournament,” Netherlands manager and former major leaguer Hensley

Meulens said. ”We consistently have good at bats, we have

excellent range in the field and we’re aggressive on the base

paths. If we can throw strikes, we can compete with anybody.”

The Dutch showed a combination of defensive speed and gap power

against the Padres, who fell behind early and never recovered.

Jones, a former major league outfielder who will play in Japan

after the WBC, is the only big name on the roster. He went 2 for 2

with two runs scored and two RBIs.

After his homer in the second inning, he walked in the fourth

and singled in the sixth.

”Andruw is our leader. The entire team takes their cue from

him,” Meulens said. ”He hasn’t been swinging for the fences. He’s

been focused on quality at bats and making solid contact, and the

others are followed suit that’s what makes us tough to play.”

Padres starter Eric Stults allowed two runs and four hits and a

walk over four innings. Stults, the team’s No. 4 starter, has

allowed two runs or more in four spring starts.

Shortstop Everth Cabrera was 2 for 3 and scored once as part of

a San Diego lineup with several minor leaguers. Padres outfielder

Jaff Decker had a home run and a double with two RBIs

NOTES: Los Angeles Dodgers P Kenley Jansen was added to the

Netherlands’ roster for the rest of the WBC. INF Jurickson Profar

was also added to the roster, replacing Yurendell de Caster

(plantar fasciitis). … The Padres brought up 18-year old

minor-league C Rodney Daal up for the exhibition. He was born in

Amsterdam. … With Italy eliminated from the WBC, Padres OF Chris

Denorfia will come back to camp on Friday or Saturday. Padres

manager Bud Black said he’ll get a few days off afer playing so

much during the WBC. … Black expects CF Cameron Maybin (back) and

RF Will Venable (side) to play on Friday in one of two split-squad