Puerto Rico remained undefeated in this year’s World Baseball Classic, as they held on to beat Team USA, 6-5. Puerto Rico claimed a spot in the semifinals in LA, where Japan and the Netherlands await.
Puerto Rico jumped all over USA starter Marcus Stroman in the first. They recorded six straight hits and a sac fly to take a 4-0 lead. Former KC Royal Carlos Beltran was in the middle of it all, collecting an RBI single and scoring on the sac fly (he went 2-for-4).
Stroman settled down to get within an out of finishing five innings. Bad Puerto Rican base running also bailed him out of both the first and second innings.
Puerto Rican starter Seth Lugo held the US offense in check, allowing single runs in the second, fifth, and sixth innings. The US hit two solo homers: Buster Posey in the fifth and Adam Jones in the sixth. Eric Hosmer singled home a run in the second (he went 2-for-4 with a run scored).
In the bottom of the sixth, Puerto Rico tacked on two more HUGE runs on a two out throwing error by US third baseman Nolan Arenado. However, the inning started with a hit batter and a walk (and then two stolen bases).
In the top of the ninth, Team USA rallied to within one run on a Brandon Crawford two-run triple. However, Josh Harrison struck out to end the game (it was the third K of the inning).
With Puerto Rico already advancing to the semifinals, that leaves one spot remaining. It will all come down to tonight’s rematch between Team USA and the Dominican Republic (10pm ET). Danny Duffy gets the start for the US against former Royals teammate Ervin Santana. PR ends their second round play this afternoon (3:30pm ET) against Venezuela.