The final game of the 2017 World Baseball Classic was certainly a classic in itself, with Team USA beating Team Puerto Rico by a score of 8-0 Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium. Team USA joins the Dominican Republic and Japan (twice) as the only teams to win it all in tournament history. Puerto Rico, meanwhile, loses in the championship game for the second straight Classic.
Mets starter Seth Lugo continued to pitch well for Puerto Rico until the 3rd inning, when second baseman Ian Kinsler socked a two run home run to give Team USA a 2-0 lead. After a clean 4th inning, USA hit him some more with Christian Yelich and Andrew McCutchen laced RBI singles, increasing their lead to 4-0 and knocking Lugo from the game.
Over 4.0 innings, Lugo allowed four runs on five hits while walking four and striking out seven. USA pitcher Marcus Stroman, meanwhile, took a no-hitter into the seventh inning when Angel Pagan ended the bid with a double. He was removed form the game at that point, so over 6.0 innings he allowed no runs on one hit with one walk and three strikeouts.
Up 4-0 going into the 7th, Team USA knocked around Puerto Rican reliever Jose Berrios for three runs. Brandon Crawford‘s two-RBI single as well as Giancarlo Stanton‘s RBI single gave USA a 7-0 lead. They scored another run in the 8th inning on a Javier Baez throwing error.
Puerto Rico was absolutely silenced over the first eight innings with only Angel Pagan and Yadier Molina recording hits. They desperately needed a rally in the bottom of the 9th inning down by eight runs, but they had to get through White Sox closer David Robertson. With one out, Pagan smacked one right through the rickets of Robertson into center field to start the inning. He accounted for two of Puerto Rico’s three hits on the night.
Fransisco Lindor then hit a tailor-made double play ball to first baseman Eric Hosmer, but it was hit so hard that the ball stuck in Hosmer’s glove and he was unable to do anything more than just step on first for the second out of the inning. Carlos Correa then grounded out softly to Nolan Arenado to end the game, securing Team USA’s first ever WBC win. You can check out the full box score here.
It was surely a very exciting World Baseball Classic. From the underdog story of Team Israel to the upsets over the All Star roster of the Dominican Republic, every game was fun to watch. I, for one, am excited for the 2020 WBC and sincerely hope this wasn’t the last one.