Anyone who witnessed the United States’ win over the Dominican Republic can easily determine why this competition is called the World Baseball Classic.
The U.S. defeated the Dominican Republic 6-3 on Saturday night at San Diego’s Petco Park in an unforgettable Pool F game. With the result, Team USA advances to the semifinals for the first time since 2009. The Dominican Republic’s quest to repeat as champion ends with its second-round elimination.
The U.S. fell into an early hole when the Domican Republic scored two runs in the first inning but tied the score in the third inning on Ian Kinser’s fielder’s choice and Christian Yelich’s double.
Giancarlo Stanton put the U.S. up for good with a monster two-run home run in the fourth inning.
Danny Duffy earned the win, but he had plenty of help from relievers Pet Neshek, Tyler Clippard, Sam Dyson and Luke Gregerson, who combined to allow just one run on three hits over five innings.
The game might have turned out differently had Adam Jones not robbed Manny Machado of a solo home run in the seventh inning. Jones’ catch was perhaps the most stunning play of the 2017 tournament.
Robinson Cano followed with a solo home run, but the United States had the momentum and the backing of a raucous capacity crowd by then.
Andrew McCutchen tacked on two more runs for the U.S. with an eighth-inning double.
Team USA will face Japan on Tuesday night in the semifinals. Puerto Rico will play the Netherlands on Monday night in the other semifinal.
The winners will meet Wednesday night in the World Baseball Classic championship game.
Thumbnail photo via Orlando Ramirez/USA TODAY Sports Images