Trea Turner of Team USA hits a three-run homerun In the bottom of the sixth inning during the World Baseball Classic Semifinals between Cuba and United States at loanDepot park on March 19, 2023 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Gene Wang/Getty Images)
By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network
MIAMI- Team USA’s offensive exploded against Cuba, stomping their Caribbean rival 14-2 to march onward into the Championship game Tuesday night at loanDepot Park in Miami at 7 p.m. on Fox Sports 1.
The United States will face the winner of Japan and Mexico, who play tonight at 7 p.m. on Fox Sports 1.
Cuba got on the board during the first inning, as Alfredo Despaigne drew a walk with the bases loaded after three straight infield singles from Roel Santos, Yoan Moncada, Luis Robert Jr., to lead off the game as Santos came in to score the first run.
Team USA tarting pitcher Adam Wainwright settled down after the first and pitched four innings, allowing one earned run, five hits, striking out one and walked one batter.
Team USA grabbed the lead with two runs in the bottom of the first when Paul Goldschmidt cranked a two-run home run to left field and Mookie Betts came in to score.
In the bottom of the second inning, the United States, the hot bat of Trea Turner unleashed a solo home run to left field to put the USA up 3-1.
Cuba starting pitcher Roenis Elias’s night was over after two innings, allowing three earned runs, four hits, walking one and striking out one.
During the bottom of the third inning, Team USA began to run away with the game when Pete Alonso drove a single to left field and Nolan Arenado came in to score to extend the lead to 4-1.
The hits kept coming from top to bottom of the USA lineup. Arenado continued to swing a hot bat, smacking a fourth inning triple down the right field line as Goldschmidt came in to score to go up 6-1.
Cuba’s pitching just couldn’t keep up with the the Team USA bats during the blowout. Turner added another home run in the game, parking his second ding dong johnson of the night and third in two games to left center field, putting the United States up 12-2 during the bottom of the sixth inning.
Cedric Mullins also joined the party for Team USA, launching a solo home run to right center field during the bottom of the eighth inning to make it 14-2.
Relief pitcher Aaron Loup came into the top of the ninth to shut the door for Team USA, replacing Miles Mikolas, who pitched four innings, allowing six hits, one earned run, no walks, and struck out three batters. Loup recorded the final three outs of the game with no harm done, getting Despaigne to ground into a 6-4-3 double play to end the game earning a berth into the World Baseball Classic Championship Game on Tuesday night.
The United States will look to go back-to-back in the World Baseball Classic for the first time in their nation’s history after winning the tournament in 2017 in their first appearance in the final.
DeRosa and Team USA will have a chance to exact revenge against Mexico after losing to them 11-5 in their second game in Pool C in Phoenix or face world No. 1 Japan, which has a roster composed mostly of Nippon Professional Baseball players, as well as Shohei Ohtani, Yu Darvish, Laars Nootbar, and Masataka Yoshida, who in Major League Baseball.