Miami – It was rumbling. It was exhilarating. It was breathtaking.
It was sheer bedlam.
When the smoke cleared on Saturday night, the USA was dancing off the sector, 9-7 winners over Venezuela, with the sellout crowd of 35,792 nonetheless making an attempt to wrap their minds round what that they had simply witnessed.
The USA will now play Cuba in the WBC semifinals on Sunday night time (7ET, FOX), sending Staff Venezuela house.
“We were a road team,” stated USA supervisor Mark DeRosa. “We knew it would be insane.”
It lived up to the hype, and, oh, a lot extra.
“I think that’s what the WBC is, man, kind of obsessed,” DeRosa stated. “I spent 1999 taking part in for León in Caracas, and I liked each second of it. Not solely did it make me a greater participant and put together me for the massive leagues, nevertheless it additionally gave me a greater understanding of the fervour of Latin American ball gamers.”
This game had so much drama from start to finish, with every player on each team reaching base at least once, but it will always be remembered for the biggest hit in USA’s WBC history: Trey Turner’s eighth-inning grand slam. Slam.
USA looked finished.
They were down 7–5 after Venezuela scored five unanswered runs.
They were down to their final six when it started harmlessly enough with a walk to Tim Anderson. Then a Pete Alonso bloop single. And then JT Realmuto got hit by a pitch.
Venezuelan manager Omar López then made the move that would be anticipated in Venezuela for years, taking right-back Silvino Bracho.
He immediately got ahead of Turner with two strikes, and then threw a fastball down the middle of the platoon.
Turner sent over the fence, above the upper deck, to the concrete pillar.
Turner danced around the bases and the USA dugout erupted.
Just like that, the game turned upside down, one of the most dramatic, exhilarating games ever played in this building and perhaps in tournament history.
It started with a bang as the USA took six batters before getting their first out, taking a 3–0 lead in the first inning.
Venezuela struck right back with a two-run homer by Miami Marlins first baseman Luis Arraz, the first of his two homers for the evening, the first multi-homer game of his professional career.
It was the kind of evening in which the United States appeared to be slowly fading away, until their nightmare fifth inning that nearly sealed their fate, and perhaps that of the eventual World Series champions, the Houston Astros. It was a serious blow.
It started when Colorado Rockies closer Daniel Byrd replaced starter Lance Lynn in the fifth, and it was nothing short of a disaster.
Gleyber Torres walks away.
Andres Jimenez held a single.
José Altuve was hit by a pitch that caused him to writhe in pain, and left the game, with the initial diagnosis being a broken right thumb.
another wild pitch
Anthony Santander Walk.
Byrd was mercifully fired, replaced by Jason Adam, who barely warmed up, but was too much to pull off a base-loaded, no-out jam.
Arréz drove in a run on a groundout, Salvador Pérez drove in the second on a run-scoring double to tie the game, and Ronald Acuna hit a sacrifice fly to send the ballpark into a frenzy.
Just like that, USA’s commanding 5–2 lead melted into a 6–5 deficit.
It became 7–5 in the 7th inning on another Arraz homer, who had said earlier in the day that he felt like he was on Cloud 9, and then hit some homers later in the night.
“I am dreaming,” said Arréz. “Proper now, I am dreaming.
“Am I here? Am I here? Yes.”
Effectively, by the top of the sport, Staff USA was asking the identical query, pinching one another, asking themselves whether or not this was the best sport ever.
It was the type of sport that turned out to be one of the crucial fantastic, pleasurable evenings of his life.
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