Trea Turner’s grand slam leads USA to comeback win in WBC
MIAMI — Trea Turner hit an eighth-inning grand slam that lifted the United States against Venezuela 9-7 on Saturday night and into the semifinals of the World Baseball Classic.
Defending champion Team USA will face Cuba on Sunday night for a spot in the WBC Championship.
Venezuelan second baseman and Houston Astros star Jose Altuve left the game in the fifth with a right hand injury after being hit by a pitch from Daniel Bard.
The Astros said there would be a status update on Sunday.
Trailing 7-5, the United States charged in the eighth on a walk, single, and hit on the pitch against losing pitcher Jose Quijada.
Silvino Bracho relieved, then Turner, the ninth batter for the American squad, sent his 0-2 change 407 feet to deep left field for the third Grand Slam in American team history.
David Bednar, the fifth American pitcher, picked up the win. Ryan Pressly got three out for the stoppage.
Luis Arraez, playing the baseball stadium he will soon call home with the Miami Marlins, hit two home runs for Venezuela.
Team USA has a list of big names that many have chosen to repeat as WBC champions.
All nine hitters on the Team USA roster are all-stars, including Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout, St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and Cardinals third baseman Nolan Arenado.
The U.S. is in the top six in the tournament in batting average (.296), RBIs (34) and hits (48), and every U.S. starter had a hit on Saturday night.
Venezuela took a 6-5 lead in a four-run fifth after Ronald Acuña Jr.’s sacrificial volley to deep center field.
Salvador Perez drove into the tying run with a line double that snuck just inside the left field foul line.
Arraez hit a two-run drive to right field in the first, his first home run at his new home park, and added another in the seventh to give Venezuela a two-run lead. Arraez, the defending AL batting champion, was traded to the WBC host Miami Marlins this offseason after four seasons in Minnesota.
Bard replaced American starting starter Lance Lynn with a three-run lead in the fifth and loaded the bases with two walks, a hit on the ground and a hit per pitch that injured Altuve.
Bard was taken off after Gleyber Torres scored on a wild pitch to make it 5-3. Venezuela added their final three points against Jason Adam, who managed to get out of the inning on 10 shots.
Team USA hit five straight singles to start the game. Betts started first with a single into the field, then the speedster ran from first to third on Trout’s single, forcing a pitching error from Acuña to score.
Kyle Tucker also homered for the United States