Team USA’s Four Home Runs Clinches Spot in Title Game

U.S. hits team record-setting four home runs in 14-2 semifinal win over Cuba
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Cuba 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 2 12 0
USA 2 1 2 2 2 4 0 1 x 14 14 1


MIAMI, Fla. – Trea Turner continued his World Baseball Classic tear with two home runs, and the U.S. hit a team-record four blasts to lift Team USA to a 14-2 win over Cuba in the semifinals on Sunday night at loanDepot Park. With the win, the U.S. clinches its spot in Tuesday’s title game and will aim to defend its world title against the winner of the second semifinal between Japan and Mexico.

The United States will appear in the World Baseball Classic championship game for the second straight tournament after beating Puerto Rico in the 2017 title game.

After falling behind 1-0 in the top of the first inning, the U.S. offense wasted no time taking a lead it would not relinquish on the night. The stars and stripes scored in each of the game’s first six innings and seven of their eight turns at bat overall, marking the first time in Team USA’s history that it scored in six straight innings at the World Baseball Classic.

Paul Goldschmidt started the scoring for Team USA in the first with a two-run shot to go up 2-1. The 112 mph-home run drove in the 13th and 14th first-inning runs for the stars and stripes in the tournament, giving them the second-most all-time in a single World Baseball Classic (Korea, 19 in 2009).

The U.S. left the yard again in the second inning, this time off the bat of Turner. After hitting a go-ahead grand slam in Saturday’s quarterfinal, Turner stayed hot and crushed another no-doubter, a 428-foot solo shot to left, to increase Team USA’s lead to 3-1. Turner became only the second U.S. player in history to hit home runs in back-to-back World Baseball Classic plate appearances, joining his U.S. hitting coach, Ken Griffey Jr. (2006 vs. South Africa).

Nolan Arenado singled in the bottom of the third before a hit-by-pitch and a walk loaded the bases for Pete Alonso, who roped an RBI-single to left to plate Team USA’s fourth run. The lead grew to 5-1 on a sacrifice fly by Tim Anderson, bringing Kyle Schwarber home for the second run of the inning.

Cuba added a run in the fifth, but Team USA’s offense continued to pour it on in the middle innings, scoring another two runs in both the fourth and fifth innings to take a commanding 9-2 lead. St. Louis Cardinals teammates Arenado and Goldschmidt were in the middle of the scoring, as Goldschmidt drew a walk and came around to score on Arenado’s RBI-triple down the right field line in the fourth. Arenado–whose triple gave the U.S. a tournament-leading six three-baggers–later scored on a wild pitch before Goldschmidt smoked a two-run single in the fifth for the seven-run advantage.

The U.S. outburst continued into the bottom of the sixth after Will Smith began the inning with a double and Jeff McNeil drew a walk to bring Turner to the plate. He continued his dominant two-game stretch, demolishing a three-run blast to left to extend the lead to 12-2.

Mookie Betts and Mike Trout combined to score another run for Team USA in the sixth, as Betts singled and scored on a line-drive double from Trout. After entering as a pinch runner in the seventh inning, Cedric Mullins put the finishing touches on the victory with a solo homer on the first pitch he saw in the bottom of the eighth for the team’s fourth longball of the night to make it 14-2.

Adam Wainwright (2-0) got the start for the United States and withstood a stressful first inning before settling down to toss four frames of one-run ball. Wainwright, who now owns a 2.25 ERA in tournament play, scattered five hits and struck out one batter to earn the win. Miles Mikolas followed Wainwright and pitched four solid innings of relief, allowing just one run and striking out three before Aaron Loup got the final three outs in the top of the ninth to advance Team USA to the finals.

The stars and stripes tallied 14 hits for the second night in a row. Betts (3-for-6) and Turner (3-for-5, 2 HR, 4 RBI) combined for almost half of the knocks, while Arenado (2-for-3, RBI) and Goldschmidt (2-for-5, HR, 4 RBI) also contributed multi-hit games. Mullins (1-for-1, HR, RBI) homered in his only at-bat, becoming the seventh U.S. player to homer in tournament play.

Including Saturday’s quarterfinal win over Venezuela, the U.S. scored 23 runs on 28 hits over the past two games.

Following Turner’s two-homer night on Sunday, he now owns the U.S. record for most home runs in a single World Baseball Classic (4) and is tied with Griffey Jr. and David Wright for the most RBIs in a single tournament (10). He is also the tournament leader in homers and is tied for the most RBIs.

Team USA returns to action on Tuesday night for the World Baseball Classic title game against the winner of Mexico vs. Japan. First pitch is set for 7:00 p.m. ET at loanDepot Park in Miami, Florida, and the game will be televised on Fox Sports 1.