Team USA finally manages a defeat of Puerto Rico and makes it to the World Baseball Classic semi-finals on the back of Mets 3B David Wright.
It was a wild one last night, and one of the best baseball games I’ve seen in a while. Of course, it has only been spring training, but still, this was phenomenal.
Puerto Rico drew the first blood with a solo dinger off of Ted Lilly in the second, but Team USA responded with
two runs of their own, including a huge slide and bad throw that
brought David Wright home on a Brian McCann sac-fly. Kevin Youkilis
added to the lead with a solo tater off of Jonathan Sanchez with two outs in the third.
But Puerto Rico wasn’t going anywhere. A two run shot by Carlos Delgado in the fourth (also off of Ted Lilly) evened things up 3-3.
In the sixth, an Alex Rios single with two men on put Puerto Rico up 4-3. They built on teat lead the top of the ninth, when Ramon Vasquez hit one that got by Derek Jeter, allowing the man on second to score and putting Puerto Rico up 5-3 with half a frame left for team USA to stave off elimination.
Shane Victorino led off the bottom of the ninth with a single off of his Phillies teammate JC Romero, followed by a single from Brian Roberts. A line-out by Derek Jeter moved Victorino to third. Roberts stole second, and Jimmy Rollins walked to load the bases.
Rico brought in Fernando Cabrera to relieve Romero and face Kevin
Youkilis, their two run lead in danger of disappearing. Cabrera walked
Youkilis on 5 pitches, leaving the Americans down by one run.
3b David Wright stepped up to the plate, and on the 2-1 pitch, he hit a
bloop double to the right corner, bringing home two runs and keeping
the Americans in the WBC.
was quite a game, and if you missed it, you missed the best baseball
game since the Red Sox ALCS game 5 comeback last season.
The Americans will move on while Puerto Rico returns to spring training. Regardless of how things go from here, Team USA has already outshone the 2006 team. But with players like Wright, Rollins, Victorino, Jeter, and Youkilis (among many, many others) its hard to see them giving up now.
Team USA will play Venezuela, who they split a series with in Toronto, to see who will will Pool 2 tonight (March 18th) at 7 PM eastern. If you haven’t been watching the WBC, tune in now, because things are getting very interesting.