The United States was in danger of a major disappointment, but Trea Turner flipped the narrative quickly.
The now Philadelphia Phillies star, on an 0-2 pitch down two in the eighth, blasted a grand slam that proved to be the game-winner that sent Team USA to the World Baseball Classic.
The United States defeated the 4-0 Venezuelans, 9-7.
Team USA got off to a hot start, as their first five batters of the ballgame each got a hit, and it was 3-0 USA before they even recorded an out.
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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 sure showed it was a home game for the South American country), defending batting champion Luis Arraez drilled a two-run homer to make it a 3-2 game in the first.
USA scored in the top of the fourth and fifth, but Venezuela put up four runs in the bottom of the fifth to take a 6-5 lead. Arraez blasted his second homer of the night In the sixth to put his squad up two.
However, the U.S. loaded the bases with none out, and José Quijada, shortly after a lively celebration to get out of a jam the previous inning, surrendered the 407-foot bomb to left field.
Turner lost his voice screaming while rounding the bases and was mobbed by his teammates at home plate as if it were a walk-off home run.
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Mike Trout recently said the WBC is the most fun he’s had playing in years – he’s been ripped for that take, considering his Los Angeles Angels haven’t made the postseason since 2014.
But the shortstop – a World Series winner in 2019 – showed as much emotion as anyone could deliver on a baseball diamond – not bad for a “meaningless tournament.”
“It was electric. That was really fun. I don’t really know what I did. I feel like I blacked out,” Turner said after the game.
After the game, Turner said it was the best hit of his career.
Again, that’s coming from a World Series champion who is currently playing in “fake games.”
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USA will be back on the diamond on Sunday to go against Team Cuba in the semifinals. With a victory, they will face either Japan (the 2006 and 2009 champs) or Mexico (whom they lost to in pool play) for a chance to defend their title from 2017.