The WBC final between team USA and Puerto Rico was the story of Marcus Stroman. Stroman was flat out dominating in six frames, as he had a no-hit bid going on through six innings, that was spoiled by Angel Pagan who hit a leadoff double in the bottom of the seventh inning. With plenty of run support, Stroman earned the win as the USA beat Puerto Rico 8-0.
In the first game vs Puerto Rico in round two, Stroman wasn’t nearly as effective as he gave up four runs on eight hits in 4.2 innings. But this time he kept the Puerto Ricans guessing.
Of course, he got plenty of run support as his teammates were very clutch today. It all started with a two-run shot in the third inning, hit by Ian Kinsler. With Jonathan Lucroy on first base and no outs, Kinsler hit a homerun to left field to break the game open.
Two innings later, Christian Yelich singled with runners on first and second to drive in Ian Kinler to score the third run for team USA. After two force outs, Andrew McCutchen singled through the left side to drive in Christian Yelich from third base.
A two-RBI single by Brandon Crawford and a RBI single by Giancarlo Stanton drove in three more runs for the US in the seventh inning.
The evening of Marcus Stroman ended in the bottom of the seventh inning. After keeping Puerto Rico hitless for six innings, his no-hit bid ended when Angel Pagan doubled to left field. That was a sign for manager Jim Leyland to pull Stroman in favor of Sam Dyson. Stroman had to sit out a very long half inning as the US at bat in the top of the seventh inning lasted thirty minutes. Dyson did what he had to do and retired three batters in a row.
The torment of Puerto Rico went on in the eighth. With two outs and a runner on first, Eric Hosmer singled through the right side, followed by Andrew McCutchen’s infield hit that ignited a throwing error by second baseman Javier Baez who threw the ball way past first base and thus allowed Nolan Arenado to score another run for the US.
As mentioned before, Marcus Stroman cruised through 6+ innings for the win. He limited Puerto Rico to one hit, walked one and struck out three.
Sam Dyson pitched one perfect inning, striking out two. Pat Neshek allowed one hit and a walk and fanned one in one inning of relief. David Robertson gave up one hit in another one inning affair.
The USA outhit their opponent 13-3. Best hitter for the USA was Andrew McCutchen who went 2 for 4 with two RBI and a run scored.
It was clear that the USA was still in the flow it got into after the victories over the Dominican Republic and Japan. The pitching of Puerto Rico though, was a shadow of its self, compared to the semi-final. The pitchers simply could not keep the American lineup in check. And this proves once more what an unpredictable game baseball actually is. The perfect (7-0) Puerto Ricans vs the Americans with a 5-2 record.