Trea Turner made a stadium explode on Saturday in Miami.
Behind an eighth-inning grand slam from 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 inning down 7-5 and six outs from elimination after blowing a three-run lead in the fifth. Venezuelan reliever José Quijada, having shut down a U.S. rally in the previous frame, quickly got into trouble with a walk of Tim Anderson, single by Pete Alonso and a hit-by-pitch of J.T. Realmuto.
Venezuela then replaced Quijada with Silvino Bracho, who faced a nightmare task: bases loaded, no outs, about to face Turner, Mookie Betts and Mike Trout, with Paul Goldshmidt and Nolan Arenado looming if things got ugly. He started off well, going up 0-2 on Turner, but then he hung a changeup and, well, see for yourself:
Turner knew it as soon as it was off his bat, and he made sure the American dugout knew it, too:
Turner was asked after the game where the moonshot ranked in his career. He said “It’s probably No. 1, homer-wise,” and that he couldn’t think of one better.
Pretty good for the quarterfinals of a tournament that (allegedly) doesn’t matter.
Venezuela put the U.S. down in order from there but had two runs to make up. They had previously been on track for what would’ve already been a wild win, as they scored four runs in the fifth inning after Daniel Bard lost his command and opened the door for Venezuela to take the lead. However, they lost star second baseman Jose Altuve to a hit-by-pitch to the hand in the process.
Before Turner’s slam, the majority of Team USA’s runs had come in the first inning, and they probably should’ve scored even more. USA began the game with five straight singles, but an out on the basepaths by Kyle Tucker gifted Venezuela a break and stanched the bleeding.
The win sets up the U.S. for a semifinal game against Cuba at 7 p.m. ET Sunday (FS1).
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