Team USA is heading back to the World Baseball Classic championship game after a dominant performance against Team Cuba with some help from their captain and Los Angeles Angels superstar Mike Trout.
Cuba jumped out to an early 1-0 lead against Adam Wainwright with three infield singles and a walk, but that was all they scored as they could not capitalize on their quick start.
Los Angeles Dodgers superstar Mookie Betts once again jump-started USA’s offense with a leadoff double in the bottom of the first inning and he came around to score when Paul Goldschmidt launched a two-run homer.
Trea Turner continued his red-hot hitting in the second inning with a solo home run. It was Turner’s first at-bat since his grand slam against Team Venezuela on Saturday. Betts followed with another single, but Trout lined out to end the inning.
USA rallied again in the third inning when Nolan Arenado singled, Kyle Schwarber was hit by a pitch and Will Smith walked. Pete Alonso put USA up by three runs with a single, and they added another on a sacrifice fly from Tim Anderson.
Goldschmidt walked and Arenado tripled to right field In the fourth inning before Schwarber walked and Arenado scored on a wild pitch, making the score 7-1 USA.
In the fifth inning, Cuba added another run when Yoan Moncada doubled before Erisbel Arruebarrena and Andy Ibanez singled, but that was all their rally entailed.
USA loaded the bases again in the bottom half of the inning, and with two outs, Goldschmidt singled to drive in two runs, making the score 9-2.
In the sixth inning, Smith started another rally with a leadoff double before Jeff McNeil walked. Turner then blasted his second home run of the game to put the United States up by 10 runs. Another single from Betts kept the rally going and Trout doubled to drive in the Dodgers’ right fielder.
USA then added one last run in the ninth inning with a home run from Cedric Mullins to make the score 14-2.
On the pitching side, Wainwright went four innings while giving up one run before he was replaced by Miles Mikolas who followed his teammates’ success with the same outing. Aaron Loup pitched a scoreless ninth while giving up one hit to close out the game.
What’s next for Team USA?
Team USA will have a chance to defend its 2017 title against the winner of the Team Mexico versus Team Japan game being played on Monday night. The championship game will be held at loanDepot Park in Miami on March 21 at 4 p.m. PT.
Patrick Sandoval is set to start for Mexico in their semifinal game.
Make sure to follow Angels Nation on Twitter for all the latest news and updates surrounding the Halos!