The World Baseball Classic comes around every four years and is one of the most exciting events in baseball. Some people do not like it because they say that the United States is guaranteed to win. But since the WBC was first played in 2006, the USA had not even made it to the finals until this year. They were even considered underdogs during the entire tournament.
The matchup featured Blue Jays’ pitcher Marcus Stroman for the United States and Mets’ pitcher Seth Lugo for Puerto Rico. Both teams were packed with Major Leaguers and full of energy. The Puerto Ricans showed their team spirit by bleaching their hair, yes every last one of them did it. The Puerto Ricans also had the fans behind them. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but American baseball fans aren’t known for their cheering. It is usually either sitting quietly or heckling the other team. Puerto Rican fans brought drums and their voices to the game with them.
For the first two innings, the game appeared to be the pitchers’ duel that had been predicted. But things changed in the top of the third inning. Jonathan Lucroy hit a single to lead-off, then Ian Kinsler hit a two-run homer and the United States had a quick 2-0 lead.
The United States added two runs in the fifth inning with RBI singles by Christian Yelich and Andrew McCutchen. The pair of singles gave the United States a comfortable 4-0 lead. At this point, Stroman had not yet allowed Puerto Rico to collect a hit.
In the seventh inning, the United States added three more runs on a two-run single by Brandon Crawford, and an RBI single by Giancarlo Stanton. In the bottom of the frame, Ángel Pagán hit a lead-off double and broke up Stroman’s no-hitter.
David Robertson was given the ball to pitch the ninth inning. The United States had a very comfortable 8-0 lead, so that took away some of the stress for Robertson. He got Enrique Hernández to pop out to second base, then he allowed a single to Ángel Pagán. Francisco Lindor hit a groundball to first base that looked like it would be a game-ending double play. Luckily for Puerto Rico, United States first baseman Eric Hosmer was unable to get the ball out of his glove. Puerto Rico was down to their final out as Carlos Correa stepped up to the plate. He hit a groundball to third baseman Nolan Arrenado who fielded it on a short hop and threw Correa out a first. The American dugout emptied as they celebrated on the pitcher’s mound.