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The World Baseball Classic Looks Toward Semi-Finals

19 March, 2017, 19:09 | Author: Nadine Todd
  • PREVIEW: Netherlands, Puerto Rico Play In WBC Semifinals

If you didn't like that, you don't like baseball.

As the baseball team, so often in the shadow of both the United States and the Dominican Republic, clinched their group with one game to spare, La Placita de Santurce in San Juan turned into a turn up for the ages. With the Minnesota Twins a year ago, Santana had a 3.38 E.R.A to go along with 149 strikeouts.

Offensively, the USA has relied on San Francisco Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford (.455 BA) and Miami Marlins left field Chrisitan Yelich (.429 BA) to get on base, while Kansas City Royals Eric Hosmer has helped put points on the board with a team-high four RBIs. Dominican Republic and all remaining World Baseball Classic games stream live online.

Three of Miller's four pitches were sliders - none of which looked regular-season ready yet - and his lone fastball hit 93.7 miles per hour.

Not to be outdone, World Series hero Eric Hosmer perhaps became the latest athlete to earn the rather silly title of "Captain America" when hit this two run blast that put the US in the lead for good.

A 424-foot two-run homer by designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton to left field off veteran right-hander Ervin Santana in the fourth inning gave the US the go-ahead runs in a 6-3 victory. Ian Kinsler got his team on the board with an RBI groundout up the middle of the diamond, and Yelich tied the game with a two-out double to score Kinsler.

That was Little's second ejection in as many games after tossing Dominican Republic manager Tony Pena earlier this week.

The exit velocity on that ball was 117.3 miles per hour, which is the fourth-hardest hit HR of the Statcast era. The United States won 4-2. That gave Team USA's offense a chance to get back in the game, which it did over the next few innings. But Reyes popped out, Machado hit a fly ball to very short center field that offered Polanco no opportunity to tag up, and Cano was out on a routine grounder to shortstop.

That catch is the stuff of legends.

Perhaps the most impacted Ranger by the World Baseball Classic is pitching coach Doug Brocail. Machado tipped his helmet to Jones.

Heck, SB Nation is already putting it in a museum. The Dominicans threatened often but added only a single run in the seventh inning on a solo home run by Robinson Cano. Kennys Vargas delivered the final blow with a two-run homer in the ninth. Pat Neshek got Santana to pop out and struck out Starling Marte to end the inning.

Duffy allowed two runs, one earned, and six hits in four-plus innings. At least he finally pitched a forgettable outing (in a good way) so maybe we can all tone down the March panic a bit.

Team USA's loss sets up a winner-take-all contest with the Dominican Republic to determine who gets the final spot in the championship round.

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