America was in danger of a major disappointment, but Trea Turner quickly turned the narrative around.
The now-star of the Philadelphia Phillies, on a pitch 0-2 down two in the eighth, hit a grand slam that turned out to be the game-winner that sent Team USA to the World Baseball Classic.
The United States defeated the Venezuelans 4-0, 9-7.
The US team got off to a good start, as their first five batters of the ballgame each got a hit, and the US was 3-0 before they even recorded a putout.
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But Venezuela got on the board quickly: As the home team in the game (and, despite the game being played in Miami, the crowd surely showed it was a home game for the South American country), defending batting champion Luis Arraez drilled a two-run home run to make it a 3-2 game in the first.
The USA scored in the top of the fourth and fifth, but Venezuela chipped in four runs in the bottom of the fifth to take a 6-5 lead. Arraez hit his second home run of the night in the sixth to put his team up two.
However, the US loaded the bases with no outs, and José Quijada, shortly after a lively celebration to get himself out of a bind in the previous inning, delivered the 407-foot bomb to left field.
Turner lost his voice yelling as he rounded the bases and was harassed by his teammates at the plate like he was hitting a walk-off home run.
TEAM USA PLAYERS WATCH ON IN AMAZE AS THE GREAT KEN GRIFFEY JR. OF THE MLB. TAKE BATTING PRACTICE AT THE WORLD BASEBALL CLASSIC
Mike Trout recently said the WBC is the most fun he’s played in years: He’s been torn apart by that take, considering the Los Angeles Angels haven’t made the postseason since 2014.
But the shortstop, a 2019 World Series winner, showed as much emotion as anyone could convey on a baseball field, not bad for a «nonsensical tournament.»
«It was electric. It was a lot of fun. I really don’t know what I did. I feel like I passed out,» Turner said after the game.
After the game, Turner said it was the the best hit of his career.
Again, that’s coming from a World Series champion currently playing in «fake games.»
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The USA will return to the diamond on Sunday to face Team Cuba in the semifinals. With a win, they will face either Japan (the 2006 and 2009 champions) or Mexico (who they lost to in group play) for a chance to defend their 2017 title.