GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Indians setup man Vinnie Pestano wanted nothing more than to help Team USA win the World Baseball Classic this spring. The pitcher is instead heading back to Cleveland's camp with a bitter taste in his mouth.
During Friday's 4-3 loss to Puerto Rico, which eliminated the United States from the international tournament, Pestano surrendered two runs without recording an out in the sixth inning. Following his performance, Pestano aired his frustration on Twitter with a series of postings.
"Choked on the biggest stage of my career," Pestano wrote on his account on Friday. "Let a lot of people down tonight, this is something I cared deeply about and will stick with me. ... Being someone that prides himself on pitching in big moments this was unacceptable, gotta learn from it and be better for it in the future."
Pestano also wished his Tribe teammates, infielder Mike Aviles (Puerto Rico) and catcher Carlos Santana (Dominican Republic), luck for the Classic's semifinals in San Francisco. The Netherlands and two-time World Baseball Classic champion Japan are also in the final pool.
"This wasn't another game in March for me," Pestano wrote. "This was a win or go home for my country and I failed. I hope you know what it meant to me."
Pestano added that suiting up for his country was "the greatest honor" an athlete can receive, and hoped to take part in the Classic again in the future.
In the sixth inning against Puerto Rico on Friday, Pestano sprinted from the bullpen to the mound with a runner on first base and Team USA trailing, 1-0. Aviles led off with a single off the right-hander, who then issued back-to-back walks to Alex Rios and Carlos Rivera. Andy Gonzalez then delivered a two-run double that put the Americans in a 4-0 hole.
Pestano, who was scheduled to rejoin the Indians for Saturday night's game against the Giants at Goodyear Ballpark, posted a 2.57 ERA with 76 strikeouts in 70 innings and 70 appearances for the Tribe last season. He also set a single-season club record with 36 holds.
Indians manager Terry Francona was confident that Pestano would be able to quickly move on from the way his Classic run ended.
"I think he'll be fine," Francona said. "I think he just really cares."
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.