Trea Turner Slams USA into Semi Finals in 9-7 Win over Venezuela
Every time I think they're out ,team USA drags me back in. Last night in one of the most electric baseball games I've ever witnessed Trea Turner chiseled his name into the baseball lexicon for all eternity.
It was a game for the ages and no one in that ballpark or in the baseball loving world will ever forget what Team USA did on that ball field in Miami. It was dare I say it the World Baseball Classics: 2016 Cubs Indians World Series Game Seven - 1988 Dodgers A’s World Series Game One - and as my son said to me last night I’ve got my game six Pop referring to my memory of game six of the 1975 Red Sox Reds World Series. When Carlton Fisk hit the most memorable HR in World Series history. So don't tell me these games are meaningless.
I tweeted out before the game that Team USA had to swallow its slugging pride and get men on base. And that's exactly what they did in the first inning. Hitting five straight singles chasing Team Venezuela starter Martin Perez from the contest in just a third of an inning. The only out he recorded was Kyle Tucker trying to take second. In the first half inning the Red White and Blue was up 3-0 and I was feeling pretty good about my pregame take. But Venezuela had other ideas as a two run shot in the bottom half by Luis Arraez cut the lead to 3-2. And that's how the game stayed until the top of the fourth. When Mookie Betts hit a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Kyle Schwarber. And then in the fifth Kyle Tucker took Astros teammate Louis Garcia yard opening up the Americans lead to 5-2. Most watching thought a rout was on. Think again
Daniel Bard came into the game in the fifth inning with a 5-3 lead and did what he always seems to do when the lights shine brightest. Melt down. Bard walked the first batter he faced and gave up an infield single to Gimenez - threw a wild pitch to move Torres and Gimenez up to second and third. then proceed to hit Altuve ( who left the game with a possible broken thumb) to load them up. Another wild pitch scored a run cutting the lead to 5-4. USA manager Mark Derosa walked to the mound three batters too late and removed Bard for Jason Adam. who didn't fare much better after coming in with the bases loaded. Adam gave up a double to Savlador Perez to tie it up, and a sac fly to Acuna to give Venezuela the lead.
And there we stayed at 6-5. Until the bottom of the seventh. David Bednar of the Pirates gave up a solo shot to Luis Arraez to open things up and a 7-5 lead. Team America looked like it was headed home. And Venezuela looked to be headed to a semi final showdown with Cuba.
Then the wheels came off for the Venezuelans. Jose Quijada who came into the game in the seventh got himself into a Bard-like situation in the eighth. He walked Tim Anderson gave up a single to pinch hitter Pete Alonzo. Then Hit J.T Realmuto. Bases loaded no outs. Enter reliever Silvino Bracho - Enter Avenger Trea Turner. Bracho got ahead of Turner 0-2 then he hung a changeup and Mrs. Turner's little boy didn't miss it. Launching a grand slam and sending an already frenzied crowd like the Rawling's he just hit into orbit. Down 5-7 went to up 9-7 in a moment none of us will ever forget. And vaulted team USA into today's matchup with Cuba for the right to defend their WBC title.
God, I love this game. A lot of people have called the WBC nothing more than an exhibition. Screamed at the top of their lungs these games mean nothing. that its just opportunity for their MLB players to get injured. Me? I think the WBC is baseball in it's purest form. Here and the College World Series may be the last best example of pure baseball. Played for nothing more than pride and love of the game.
As always you can follow / give me grief on Twitter @Tmurph207