Sunday, March 26, 2023|
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MIAMI — Trea Turner hit a go-ahead grand slam in the eighth inning that lifted the United States over Venezuela 9-7 Saturday night and into the World Baseball Classic semifinals.
The defending champion U.S. will face Cuba on Sunday night for a spot in the WBC final against Japan or Mexico. St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright will start for the U.S. against Cuba.
Venezuela second baseman and Houston Astros star Jose Altuve left in the fifth with a right hand injury after he was hit by a pitch from Daniel Bard. The Astros said there will be an update on his status Sunday.
Trailing 7-5, the United States loaded the bases in the eighth on a walk, single and hit by pitch against losing pitcher Jose Quijada. Silvino Bracho relieved and Turner, the No. 9 batter in the U.S. lineup, sent his 0-2 changeup 407 feet to deep left field for the third grand slam in American WBC history.
“Individually, I think this is probably the biggest hit that I’ve had … probably right up there with any hit I’ve ever had,” Turner said.
U.S. manager Mark DeRosa said Saturday’s win was one of the three greatest game’s he’s ever been a part of — including winning the World Series with the San Francisco Giants in 2010.
“I told the guys before the game, I wanted to match their passion,” said DeRosa, who once played for the Venezuelan professional team Leones del Caracas. “I had played over there. I had been a part of that, coming out of the dugout and jumping around … When Trea clipped that ball, honestly, I saw about 35 guys, including the coaches, kind of black out and lose their minds for a minute. So it was just an awesome moment.”
David Bednar, the fifth of seven U.S. pitchers, got the win and Ryan Pressly finished with three straight outs for the save.
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