Less than 24 hours after Team USA took down Venezuela in an instant classic, Mark DeRosa and the Stars and Stripes were back at it taking on Cuba in the semi-finals. 

When meeting with the media pregame DeRosa said “He [Adam Wainwright] has pitched in every big game known to man. Today Wainwright would take the mound with a spot in the final of the World Baseball Classic on the line. 

Team Cuba could not have asked for a better start to this game when their first three batters all reached on infield singles to load the bases before the Americans even recorded an out. Adam Wainwright could not find the zone early on in the first and with the bases loaded he walked Cuban baseball legend Alfredo Despaigne to put Team Cuba up 1-0. 

Things could have gotten ugly for the Americans after that but Adam Wainwright locked in. The Cardinals ace forced Erisbel Arruebarrena to ground out to third, Andy Ibanez to fly out to second and Ariel Martinez to ground out to short and secure a big win for the Americans by only giving up one run.

Much like the previous games of the tournament, it didn’t take Team USA long to respond to a blow from another country. Mookie Betts led off the inning with a double to immediately put the Americans in business and with one out Paul Goldschmidt ripped a ball into the left-field seats to put Team USA up 2-1. A nightmare start for the Stars and Stripes ended up as a pretty good first inning.

Trea Turner said that his 8th-inning grand slam against Venezuela was “the biggest home run of his life”. Just hours later he crushed yet another no-doubt shot to double Team USA’s lead and put them up 3-1. 

The 3rd and 4th innings were huge innings for the Americans. The US was able to string together a rally to tack on two more. Pete Alonso was 1-11 in the WBC when he stepped up to the plate in the fourth with the bases loaded. The New York Mets slugger ripped a single to right to bring home a run and Tim Anderson followed him with a sac fly to center to give Team USA their second run of the inning and make it 5-1. 

In the fourth, Paul Goldschmidt walked and Nolan Arenado poked an excuse me triple into right and eventually scored on a wild pitch. After that, the Americans had blown the game open to the tune of a 7-1 score.

Adam Wainwright’s day would come to an end after four innings. I think that if you would have told Mark DeRosa that Wainwright would go four innings and give up just one run, he would take that in a heartbeat. Team USA starters continue to step up big when they need it most. 

Paul Goldschmidt would continue his big night in the fifth with a two-out, two RBI single to crack the game wide open and make it 9-2 in favor of the Americans. Just when you thought Trea Turner was done, he wasn’t. The new Phillies shortstop crushed a three-run bomb to left to put Team USA up 12-2 in the 6th and this one was pretty much officially over. 

Adam Wainwright and Miles Mikolas each pitched four innings giving up just one run a piece. The Cardinals tandem combined to give Mark DeRosa just about everything that Team USA could have needed in this game. 

The USA offense has been coming together at the right time as the Stars and Stripes scored in every single inning in this game they would end up putting a 14 spot on the board.

Aaron Loup would come on to record the last three outs in the 9th inning officially securing Team USA’s spot in the championship game. 

On Tuesday Team USA will face the winner of Japan vs Mexico in the final of the World Baseball Classic. In less than 48 hours Team USA will be one win away from winning their second straight World Baseball Classic championship. 

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