2017 World Baseball Classic USA-Venezuela final score: Americans rally late to win 4-2 – CBSSports.com
In Team USA’s 4-2 win over Venezuela to open the second round of the World Baseball Classic for each country, the cliche that fits is “better late than never.”
For seven innings, very little went right for the USA offense. They saw Adam Jones ground into an inning-ending double play to end a threat in the third and were later gifted two big-time scoring situations, only to see just one run cross the plate on a sac fly. There were zero RBI hits despite six at-bats with runners in scoring position.
Then came the eighth inning, with Venezuela holding a 2-1 lead and Hector Rondon entering the game.
Jones would homer to knot things up and USA would burst through the door. Christian Yelich singled. After a Nolan Arenado fly out, Eric Hosmer would come through with the big blow of the game — a two-run home run to right-center. Luke Gregerson would close things out and USA would move to 3-1 in this tournament, with the only loss coming in a game it probably should have won against the Dominican Republic.
Here are some things to know about USA’s 4-2 victory over Venezuela on Thursday.
1. Team USA came alive late
Entering the bottom of the eighth, the Americans had been able to scratch out only one run — and that came on a sacrifice fly. Yet Jones tied the game with a solo home run, and later Hosmer (who it should be noted won the All-Star Game MVP in the same ballpark last summer) exited the park to plate himself and Yelich, giving team USA a 4-2 lead Luke Gregerson then checked in, sealing the victory amidst some erratic command.
2. Team USA is in good position to advance
The victory pulls USA to 1-0 in Pool F play with games against Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic to go. Now USA can suffer a loss while still conceivably advancing to the championship round. Naturally, there’s a chance the U.S. goes 3-0 in pool play, too, thereby ensuring they would advance. Team USA’s next game is Friday night (at 10pm ET) versus Puerto Rico (1-0 in Pool F play).
3. Team Venezuela can’t afford another loss
Talk about a heartbreaker. Venezuela was a handful of outs from positioning itself for advancement. Instead, now it has its backs up against the wall. Next up for Venezuela: Thursday night’s clash with the Dominican Republic (0-1). The loser will drop to 0-2, relegating advancement to long-shot status.
4. Drew Smyly impressed
Smyly pitched well in his biggest start since being traded to the Mariners earlier in the offseason. He threw strikes and mixed speeds over four-plus innings, finishing with eight strikeouts and just three runners allowed. Alas, what many will remember about Smyly’s outing is that his throwing error on a Robinson Chirinos bunt precipitated a run. Otherwise? Smyly kept Team USA’s streak of impressive starting performances alive. Mariners fans (and Team USA fans) had plenty to smile about.
5. Felix Hernandez was good, too
Hernandez didn’t rack up strikeouts like Smyly did (he finished with three), but he did keep the Americans off the board. How’d he do it? In part by keeping the ball on the ground. Hernandez went through five innings, all the while racking up seven groundouts versus two flyouts. Again, Mariners fans — and Team Venezuela fans — had plenty to smile about.
6. Martin Prado left injured
Prado, who started in left field, departed after a sixth-inning groundout. He seemed to pull up lame, the universal signal that he probably pulled a hamstring. His status for the rest of the tournament is unclear and it’s a tough blow for a Venezuela team that has previously lost All-Star catcher Salvador Perez to a knee injury. It’s worth noting that Rougned Odor was playing third base in this game, so Venezuela was already playing with an uncharacteristic defensive alignment. Hernan Perez replaced Prado.
If anyone wants to relive the action in real time, here’s the live blog, starring R.J. Anderson and Matt Snyder …