Cuba-USA semifinal: Four home runs take USA to second consecutive World Baseball Classic final
20/03/2023 2 Minute Read

Cuba-USA semifinal: Four home runs take USA to second consecutive World Baseball Classic final

Trea Turner, the quarterfinal hero, added two. Paul Goldschmidt and Cedric Mullins also homered as the defending World Champions outscored Cuba 14-2.

World No. 4 USA used 14 hits, including four home runs, to outscore No. 8 Cuba in the first World Baseball Classic semifinal, 14-2 at loanDepot Park in Miami, USA on Sunday.

The defending World Champions earned a chance to defend their title in the World Baseball Classic final. The United States will face the winner of Monday's semifinal between Mexico and Japan.

Cuba got to starter Adam Wainwright with three consecutive singles in the top of the first. Before recording the first out, Wainwright walked in the first run of the night. He then retired the side in order. Wainwright wouldn't allow another run in four innings of work and picked the win.

Wainwright credited his offence when he spoke to the press postgame. "What a fun team where Trea Turner bats ninth, I tell you what."

The US took the lead in the bottom half of the frame against Roenis Elias. Mookie Betts hit a leadoff double, and, with one out, Paul Goldschmidt delivered a two-run home run.

"That was one of my favourite home runs I've ever hit in my entire life,” the US first baseman said. “We've talked about trying to score early. For me, I was very happy to be able to do that. You want to contribute, on this team."

It was the beginning of a slugfest. Trea Turner, who led USA to victory over Venezuela in Saturday's quarterfinal with a grand slam, also homered in the bottom of the second and added a three-run shot in the bottom of the sixth off Elian Leyva.

Turner became the second USA player to enjoy a multi-homer game in the World Baseball Classic after his hitting coach Ken Griffey Junior.

"I don't know if he knows that," said the US shortstop. "I didn't know that, but [I] can't wait to have that conversation with him in the cage tomorrow. It's going to be fun for me."

Turner and Goldschmidt combined five hits and eight RBIs.

Seven Cuban pitchers couldn't stop the US offence, which combined 14 hits, including a fourth home run by pinch hitter Cedric Mullins.

"They're swinging the bats good, they're having fun being around each other, they're passing the baton, they're not having selfish at bats, constant pressure," said USA manager Mark DeRosa. “I'm blown away by the way these guys control the strike zone. Trea Turner's in the zone right now, hitting everything he sees. [I was] able to get everybody in there, have some fun, relax, and let the pitchers do their thing.

"It's tough. We believed we could do a better job today, but the pitchers didn't perform well," commented Cuba's manager Armando Johnson. "No matter the game's result, we still have to credit what we did until today. Of course, I'm not satisfied. I always want more. But we need to recognize the guys did the best they could."

World No. 1 Japan and No. 5 Mexico will take the field in Miami on Monday, 20 March, at 7 pm local time for the second semifinal. MLB's Los Angeles Angels left-hander Patrick Sandoval will start for Mexico. The newest NPB star, and a WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup alum, Roki Sasaki, will start for Samurai Japan.