Team USA’s hitters improved upon their impressive offensive production against Venezuela, defeating Cuba in a blowout WBC Semifinal last night. Last night’s 14–2 victory over Team Cuba sends Team USA to the WBC championship game on Tuesday.
First Inning Trouble for Team USA
After using seven pitchers in Saturday’s win against Venezuela, Adam Wainwright took the mound for the United States. He was tasked with giving Team USA some length so they didn’t have to go to their bullpen early. However, he found himself in trouble in the first inning.
Wainwright gave up three straight infield hits and he walked a batter to give Cuba a 1–0 lead to start the night. He had trouble finding the zone early, with seven of his first 15 pitches being called balls and three of those 15 pitches being hit for singles.
The bases were loaded and with nobody out, Team USA found themselves in a situation where Cuba could’ve broken the game wide open offensively.
Luck was on Team USA’s side as Wainwright induced a ground ball to Nolan Arenado in the next at-bat. Arenado showed off his gold glove decision-making and zipped the ball to catcher Will Smith for the force out at home plate.
Then Wainwright spun a curveball for the first pitch of the next at-bat and got Cuba’s Andy Ibañez to pop out to Tim Anderson for the second out. He finally finished the inning two pitches later, getting Team Cuba catcher Ariel Martínez to ground out to shortstop.
Wainwright settled down and pitched three more innings, giving up only two more hits, and three total baserunners.
His manager talked about Wainwright’s struggles early on, joking that his pitcher will have to do extra fielding drills once he returns to spring training.
“Hats off to Adam Wainwright early there,” DeRosa said. “It was soft contact early there… but to grind it out and give us four innings… it couldn’t have gone any better.”
USA Put on an Offensive Showcase in WBC Semifinal
Wainwright didn’t have to pitch without the lead for very long as Team USA’s hitters got the scoring party started in the bottom of the first inning.
Well, he did more than just tie the game. Goldschmidt launched a home run into left field to give Team USA a 2–1 lead.
“That was one of my favorite homers I’ve ever hit,” Goldschmidt said. “After a rough first inning… it was great to be able to do that.”
In the second inning, WBC Quarterfinal hero Trea Turner came up to the plate, looking to stay hot offensively. In the first pitch of his at-bat, Turner hit his third home run of the WBC to give the US a 3–1 lead.
The United States kept the scoring going in the third inning. After loading the bases, Pete Alonso came up to the plate with one out. He proceeded to hit a line drive single to left field, scoring Arenado. Anderson followed that at-bat by hitting a sacrifice fly, scoring Kyle Schwarber and giving Team USA a 5–1 lead.
In the fourth inning, Goldschmidt drew a walk and Arenado drove him in with a two out triple to right field. Arenado later scored on a wild pitch to give the US a 7–1 lead.
Cuba got back a run in the fifth inning after stringing together three hits. However, Team USA’s hitters continued to impose their will in the bottom half of the inning. The bottom third of the batting order loaded the bases and Cuba almost got out of the inning by retiring Betts and Mike Trout. However, they still had to retire the 2022 National League MVP in Goldschmidt.
Unfortunately for Team Cuba, Goldschmidt continued to show why he was worthy of the awards he won last year. He lined a single to right field, scoring Mets teammates Alonso and Jeff McNeil.
Turner Solidifies Team USA’s WBC Semifinal Win
Heading into the sixth inning, Team USA was up 9–2 and could start counting the outs until they punched their ticket to the WBC championship game. However, Turner wasn’t done putting a beat down on opposing pitchers.
In an encore performance of his second inning home run, Turner connected on a fastball in the middle of the plate and sent it over the left field wall for his second home run of the night.
Goldschmidt was asked after the game about Turner’s electric performance.
“I said quit showing us up,” Goldschmidt joked, recalling what he told Turner after his second home run. “That was quite a performance by him.”
Even team USA manager Mark DeRosa joked about Turner’s hot streak at the plate.
“I kept saying every time he went deep, ‘Who’s the idiot batting him ninth?'” DeRosa said.
Trout hit an RBI single later in the inning and Cedric Mullins hit a home run in the eighth inning to finish Team USA’s scoring for the night.
Wainwright was appreciative of his teammates’ performances and his own contribution to get his country to the championship game.
“We’re playing because we love this game, we love this country,” Wainwright said. “That’s a great feeling, man. I’m so proud to be out here.”
By the Numbers
Turner continued his electric performance at the plate, he went 3-5 and he collected four RBIs on the night. He has driven in eight runs in the last two games and is tied for the WBC lead with Japan’s Masataka Yoshida at 10.
Goldschmidt continued to be a force at the plate for Team USA. He went 2-5 and collected four RBIs as well. His .517 on-base percentage leads Team USA among players that have played every game.
Miles Mikolas and Aaron Loup had a successful night relieving Wainwright. Although they gave up seven hits, they combined to throw for five innings, while only giving up one run. Most important, they allowed Team USA’s high leverage relievers to rest and prepare for Tuesday’s championship game.
Team USA Awaits Their WBC Championship Game Opponent
The United States gets to sit back as they await the winner of the second WBC Semifinal game tonight. That game figures to be a good matchup as Mexico takes on Japan. You can see who Team USA plays by watching the Semifinal game tonight at 7 PM ET on FS1.
The United States gets ready to defend their 2017 WBC championship Tuesday night at 7 PM on FS1.