The Americans avoided elimination in dramatic fashion.
The World Baseball Classic delivered another exciting game on Saturday night, as Team USA defeated Venezuela, 9-7, in Miami to move on to the semifinals. Emotions peaked in the eighth inning, when shortstop Trea Turner hit a grand slam down in the eighth to give the United States the lead for good.
The United States had the early lead, jumping out to a 3-0 first-inning advantage before starter Lance Lynn threw a pitch. The U.S. later led 5-2, but relievers Daniel Bard and Jason Adam surrendered the lead in the fifth inning.
When Turner connected on the grand slam, Team USA was down 7-5 with six outs remaining before potential elimination. As a result of the moment, Turner’s big blast created a huge reaction similar to a playoff game inside loanDepot Park.
Turner, who has played in many playoff games, including a World Series Game 7, took note of that.
“It was probably the loudest game I ever played in,” Turner said, via Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci.
Similarly, although manager Mark DeRosa competed in big games as a player, this is his first such experience as a manager.
“This is one of the greatest games I’ve ever been a part of,” DeRosa said.
The atmosphere was raucous because the crowd was split between American and Venezuelan fans. The Venezuelan team brought their energy, having entered the game with an undefeated record.
Ultimately, Turner believes the Americans were able to match their opponents’ energy.
“It was so crazy,’’ Turner said, via USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. “You see the other side kind of going crazy, and it’s like, ‘Damn, we kind of get into a zone ourselves.’ I think we fed off it a little bit. We know we’re really good. We got to live up to that standard.”
Team USA plays Cuba at 7 p.m. ET Sunday in the first of two WBC semifinals. The other semifinal pits Mexico against Japan at 7 p.m. ET Monday. The winners will match up in the tournament championship game Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET. All three games are in Miami.