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Updated: March 23, 2017
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Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar
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Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2017 by Marco Stoovelaar

(Story by Marco Stoovelaar)

USA dominates in Final to win Classic-title

LOS ANGELES, California (USA) - The USA shutout Puerto Rico 8-0 convincingly in the Final of the World Baseball Classic on Wednesday (March 22) to capture its first-ever title of the global event. The USA reached the Final on Tuesday by winning 2-1 against Japan. Puerto Rico clinched a spot in the Final on Monday by winning 4-3 in eleven innings in the Semi-Final against the Netherlands Kingdom Team.

When the first World Baseball Classic was organized in 2006, the USA was a favorite for the Final, but was eliminated in the Second Round. In the second edition, in 2009, the Americans reached the Final Round, but finished in fourth place. Four years ago, the Americans were left empty-handed again as they were eliminated once more in the Second Round.

The first two Classics were won by Japan, four years ago the title went to the Dominican Republic. By winning the World Baseball Classic, the USA also is the new World Champion, as the Classic also had the status (again) of a World Championship. The last time that the USA captured the World Championship-title was in 2009. In 2011, the final World Championship 'old style' was organized in Panamá. That was won by the Netherlands.

After the Final, the All-World Baseball Classic Team was announced. Wladimir Balentien of the Netherlands was one of 12 players selected for the team. He was one of four players who was chosen unanimously. The others were Marcus Stroman (pitcher, USA), Eric Hosmer (first base, USA) and Yadier Molina (catcher, Puerto Rico).

All-World Baseball Classic Team
PKodai SengaJapan
PMarcus StromanUSA
PJosh ZeidIsrael
CYadier MolinaPuerto Rico
1BEric HosmerUSA
2BJavier BaezPuerto Rico
3BCarlos CorreaPuerto Rico
SSFrancisco LindorPuerto Rico
OFChristian YelichUSA
OFGregory PolancoDom. Republic
OFWladimir BalentienNetherlands
DHCarlos BeltránPuerto Rico
From the third inning, the USA controlled the game after opening the score on a 2-run homerun by Ian Kinsler. The team collected 13 basehits, while the American pitching gave up only three hits, which were hit from the seventh inning on. Only one Puerto Rican runner reached third base.

American starter Marcus Stroman dominated from the beginning. The 25-year old righthander of the Toronto Blue Jays allowed only one batter to reach base in the first six innings! That happened in the second inning when he walked lead-off hitter Carlos Beltrán. A double play followed and Stroman retired the next 14 consecutive batters. Afterwards, Stroman was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament.

In the bottom of the seventh, the USA led 7-0 and Stroman was still pitching a No-Hitter. That ended when Ángel Pagán led off the seventh with a double. Stroman was relieved by Sam Dyson, who retired the next three batters, two of them with a strikeout.

In the eighth, Pat Neshek took over the pitching. He gave up a lead-off single to Yadier Molina, but then also was supported with a double play.

David Robertson pitched the ninth inning for the USA. With one out, he gave up a single to Ángel Pagán, but two grounders followed to end the inning and the game.

The Americans opened the score in the top of the third inning. Jonathan Lucroy led off with a single, then Ian Kinsler followed with a homerun off of starter Seth Lugo.

In the fifth inning, two runs were added. Kinsler led off with a single, then Adam Jones walked. Christian Yelich followed with a runscoring single, which also led to a pitching change. Joe Jimenez took over and saw two runners being forced out at third base, but then gave up an RBI-single to Andrew McCutchen that made it 4-0 score.

With two outs in the seventh inning, the USA rallied for three more runs off of reliever J. Romero. Nolan Arenado singled, then the bases got loaded when Eric Hosmer was hit by a pitch and Andrew McCutchen walked. Hereafter, Brandon Crawford singled to bring in two runs and a new pitcher. Hiram Burgos took over, but was greeted with a runscoring single by Giancarlo Stanton that lifted the lead to 7-0.

A 2-out single by McCutchen made it 8-0 in the eighth inning.

(March 22)

Complete Schedule

Related Articles:
USA nips Japan to become second finalist. (March 21)
Didi Gregorius out for at least two weeks. (March 21)
Netherlands eliminated by Puerto Rico in 11-inning thriller. (March 20)
Didi Gregorius leaves Netherlands Team with injury. (March 20)
USA dethrones Dominican Republic; Qualifies for Semi-Final. (March 18)
Netherlands loses exhibition game vs. Arizona Diamondbacks. (March 18)
Puerto Rico beats USA; Will meet Netherlands in Semi-Final. (March 17)
Dominicans shutout Venezuela. (March 16)
Netherlands to play exhibition game; Jansen joins team. (March 16)
USA comes from behind to win against Venezuela. (March 15)
Big W Netherlands vs. Cuba; in Semi-Finals after W Japan. (March 15)
Puerto Rico defeats Dominicans in Second Round-opener. (March 14)
Japan wins vs. Cuba, but Pool is not decided yet. (March 14)
Venezuela comes from behind & eliminates Italy. (March 13)
A dream come true for Dutch WBC-umpire Winfried Berkvens. (March 13)
Netherlands wins convincingly against Israel. (March 13)
Three teams qualify for 2nd Round; Tie-breaker Italy vs. Venezuela. (March 12)
Netherlands ends up short in extra innings vs. Japan. (March 12)
WBC-wins for Colombia, Venezuela & Dominican Republic. (March 11)
USA needs extra inning to win; Puerto Rico wins big. (March 10)
Cuba advances to Second Round WBC; Australia eliminated. (March 10)
Italy wins opener on walk-off single; Dominicans win big. (March 9)
Netherlands empty-handed vs. Israel; finishes 2nd in Pool. (March 9)
Orange in 2nd Round WBC after walk-off win; Israel also in. (March 8)
Netherlands opens WBC with shutout vs. South Korea. (March 7)
Israel upsets South Korea in WBC-opener with 10-inning win. (March 6)
Netherlands Team closes WBC-preparations with loss. (March 5)
Netherlands Team wins big in Korean exhibition game. (March 3)
Netherlands closes exhibition series in Arizona with loss. (February 25)
First game Netherlands vs. Twins ends in tie. (February 24)
Netherlands Team wins big in exhibition game vs. Geckos. (February 23)
Exhibition losses Netherlands Team in Arizona. (February 20)
Orange roster announced for World Baseball Classic. (February 8)
Netherlands Team to prepare in Arizona. (February 8)

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