Tria Turner blew up a stadium in Miami on Saturday.
Behind a grand slam title in the eighth inning of the Philadelphia Phillies shortstop, Team USA rallied to beat Venezuela 9-7 and advance to the semifinals of the 2023 World Baseball Classic.
The Americans entered the half down 7-5 and six teams from elimination after being outscored three times in the fifth game. Venezuelan reliever Jose Quejada, having shut down an American rally in the previous frame, quickly ran into trouble with Tim Anderson’s outing, a single by Pete Alonso and a step-by-step from JT Realmuto.
Venezuela then replaced Quejada with Silvino Bracho, who faced a nightmare task: bases loaded, no out, on the verge of facing Turner, Mookie Betts and Mike Trout, with Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado looming large if things went wrong. He started well, going 0-2 on Turner, but then hung up a changeup, well, see for yourself:
Turner knew it as soon as he put out his bat, and he made sure the American dugout knew it, too:
Turner was asked after the game in which he finished for the first pole of his career. He said “He’s probably #1, wise HomerAnd he couldn’t think of a better one.
Very well into the quarter-finals of a (allegedly) insignificant tournament.
Venezuela put the US in order from there, but had two ways to compensate. They were previously on track for a big win already, scoring four runs in the fifth inning after Daniel Bard lost his drive and opening the door for Venezuela to take the lead. However, he lost his second star Jose Altuve to blow after blow to his hand in the process.
Prior to Turner’s tournament, the majority of Team USA’s runs had come in the first half, and perhaps they should have scored more. The USA started the game with five straight singles, but a walk-off home run by Kyle Tucker gave Venezuela a break and stopped the bleeding.
The win puts the United States into the semifinal match against Cuba at 7 p.m. EST Sunday (FS1).
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