Trea Turner slugged a go-ahead grand slam in the eighth inning as the United States defeated Venezuela 9-7 in the World Baseball Classic quarterfinals on Saturday night in Miami.
Team USA will play Cuba in a semifinal game on Sunday night in Miami.
“I tried to not do too much,” Turner said. “Wait for a pitch in the middle of the plate and get the barrel on it.”
Tim Anderson walked, Pete Alonso singled and J.T. Realmuto was hit by a pitch to load the bases with no outs for Turner, who then sent a ball 407 feet to left to give the U.S. a lead it wouldn’t surrender.
In addition to Turner’s heroics, the Americans got a 3-for-5 performance from Kyle Tucker, who homered, doubled and singled while driving in two runs.
The back end of USA’s bullpen excelled, as Devin Williams and Ryan Pressly each pitched one scoreless inning.
Venezuela’s Luis Arraez — playing in what will be his new home stadium for the Miami Marlins this year — slugged two homers, drove in four runs and scored three.
Jose Altuve, one of Venezuela’s biggest stars, was hit by a Daniel Bard pitch in the fifth inning. Altuve was immediately removed from the game with an apparent right thumb injury.
“It’s frustrating, especially when our team was battling from beginning to end,” Venezuela manager Omar Lopez said. “You have to keep your head up.”
Venezuela starter Martin Perez lasted just 16 pitches, allowing five hits and three runs. In fact, Team USA needed just two batters to score its first run.
Mookie Betts singled to start the rally. He came around to score when Mike Trout’s jam shot fell into shallow center field, and Ronald Acuna Jr.’s errant throw bounced off Betts. RBI singles by Paul Goldschmidt and Tucker made it 3-0.
Venezuela scored twice in the bottom of the first as Altuve hit a first-pitch fastball for a single before scoring on Arraez’s homer to right.
USA extended its lead to 4-2 in the fourth thanks to Betts’ sacrifice fly.
In the fifth, Tucker homered off his Astros teammate Luis Garcia, pulling his shot just inside the right field foul pole. That made it 5-2.
However, Venezuela took its first lead, 6-5, in the bottom of the fifth as Bard couldn’t find the plate. He faced four batters and walked two of them in addition to hitting Altuve.
Reliever Jason Adam came in and allowed an RBI groundout, Salvador Perez’s run-scoring double and Acuna’s sacrifice fly.
“Trea stepped up with an absolute bomb,” Team USA manager Mark DeRosa said. “Daniel (Bard) struggled a bit. We had to go get him and burn Adam in a spot we usually wouldn’t use him.”
–Field Level Media