For the first time since 2017, the United States played an official World Baseball Classic game. With one of the best USA baseball rosters ever assembled, the expectations were through the roof as the Stars and Stripes took on Great Brittan in Arizona to open Pool play on Saturday.
Things could not have gotten off to a better start for Great Britain as Dodgers outfielder Trayce Thompson blasted a ball into the left-field seats to give the British a 1-0 lead. The Americans almost responded immediately but their bases-loaded two-out rally in the bottom half of the inning fell through after Trea Turner bounced out second.
However, it wouldn’t take the US long to counter back. In the third, an error from Great Britain’s shortstop Darnell Sweeney opened the door for the Americans to strike. Nolan Arenado doubled home his Cardinals teammate Paul Goldschmidt to tie things at one and the Americans weren’t done. Houston Astros’ outfielder Kyle Tucker came up clutch with a two-out single to bring home Arenado and give the Stars and Stripes a 2-1 lead.
The very next inning, Kyle Schwarber would come up with the big swing of the night for Team USA. The Phillies DH clubbed a three-run jimmy jack to right to put the US up 5-1.
Adam Wainwright’s day would come to a close after four innings of work but a very solid day it was for the longtime St Louis Cardinal. Wainwright would go four innings giving up just one run and striking out four.
The two teams would go on the trade blows in the sixth and seventh as the Americans would strike on Nolan Arenado’s third hit of the day this one, yet another RBI double. Great Britain would get that run immediately back in the seventh after D’shawn Knowles came on and hit a pinch-hit triple and eventually scored on an Anfernee Seymour RBI ground out to cut the lead down to 6-2.
At the end of the night, the Americans would turn in a pretty dominant performance to beat Great Britain 6-2 and improve to 1-0 in the tournament. The Stars and Stripes will be back at it tomorrow at 10 PM EST against Team Mexico where Padres righty Nick Martinez will toe the rubber for the Americans.