Team USA was very close to chalking up another World Baseball Classic in Tuesday night’s thrilling comeback against Puerto Rico in Miami.
David Wright’s two-run smackdown in the ninth lifted Team USA to the eventual 6-5 victory in the nearly 4-hour game. It was the New York Mets’ third baseman that prompted fans of the red, white and blue to chant ‘USA, USA, USA!’ after being down 5-3.
Not only did the victory grant Team USA a spot in the semifinals, it was redemption against Puerto Rico, who dominated the first game with an 11-1 win. Facilitating the ‘mercy rule,’ the game was stopped in the seventh inning; pretty embarrassing.
But in this second game, Puerto Rico’s biggest ouch happened on the mound.
Fernando Cabrera walked a man in the ninth, making it a one-run game at 5-4. With a count of 2-1, Wright then hit a fly ball that sailed toward right field, falling just inside the right-field line.
Cabrera had replaced JC Romero on the mound after Team USA’s Shane Victorino and Brian Roberts singled to start the ninth.
When it all was over, the Puerto Ricans cared little that Alex Rios and Carlos Delgado homered. They had also beaten the tournament-favored team, Dominican Republic, and practically humuliated Team US A in the first game.
To determine the seeding for the semifinals at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Team USA will need play Venezuela on Wednesday.