Mexico pulled off a stunning upset over a loaded USA roster in the World Baseball Classic on Sunday behind an outstanding performance from Joey Meneses, who briefly spent time in the Boston Red Sox farm system.
The 30-year-old led an 11-run onslaught against Team USA, going 3-for-5 with a pair of home runs and five RBI.
Meneses gave Mexico an early lead with a two-run blast to left-center field against starter Nick Martinez in the first inning. He reached on an infield single in the third inning and came around to score on an Isaac Paredes base hit, which knocked Martinez out of the game.
One inning later, Meneses took Brady Singer deep with a three-run homer to deep left-center, giving Mexico a commanding 7-1 lead. His game-high five RBI matched the run total for Team USA.
Joey Meneses' journey included a pitstop with the Red Sox organization
Originally signed by the Atlanta Braves, Meneses spent seven seasons in their farm system from 2011-2017. He spent one year in the Philadelphia Phillies system on a minor league deal, earning International League MVP honors in 2018. Meneses went overseas to play for the Orix Buffaloes in Nippon Professional Baseball but his time in Japan ended with a suspension for testing positive for a banned substance.
Meneses signed a minor league deal with the Red Sox in 2020 but the cancelled minor league season due to the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out his opportunity to contribute to the organization that year. He spent the 2021 season with Double-A Portland and Triple-A Worcester, hitting .284 with a .863 OPS, 15 home runs and 70 RBI in 88 games split between the two levels of the Red Sox farm system.
Finally making his MLB debut last season, Meneses hit .324 with a .930 OPS, 13 home runs and 34 RBI in 56 games for the Washington Nationals.
His production during his brief time in the big leagues may have gone overlooked while playing for a rebuilding Nationals team but Meneses is gaining attention with his performance in the WBC.
Meneses isn't the only player with ties to the Red Sox who contributed toward Mexico's win. Alex Verdugo drew a walk and scored on the second home run by Meneses in the fourth inning. Verdugo was hit by a pitch in the eighth inning and replaced by pinch-runner Jarren Duran, who stole second base and scored on a Rowdy Tellez base hit.
The star-studded Team USA lineup managed a respectable five runs but they fell well short of a comeback. Former Red Sox superstar Mookie Betts went 0-for-5 from the top of the lineup and he's now hitting .100 through two games in the tournament.
The United States is now tied with Mexico and Columbia in Pool C with a 1-1 record. They trail Canada (1-0), the team they will face Monday night.