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Written by Mark Nikolov Photos by Mike Ehrmann
The World Baseball Classic has arrived and baseball fans seem to be extra patriotic right now. I’ve been live tweeting the USA games and it’s been a blast! As far as I know I’m the only one that’s been live tweeting all the USA games from start to finish. It’s nice to be #1 in something!
The first game against Colombia started off as a pitching duel between Chris Archer (USA) and Jose Quintana (Colombia). Archer was particularly impressive. He pitched with some incredible velocity! His fastball registered at around 96 miles per hour on the radar gun. His changeup was even hitting 90 MPH! Quintana was also impressive against a highly talented Team USA lineup. He threw 5 ⅔ innings of one hit ball. He only walked one batter and gave up zero runs.
Colombia scored the first two runs of the game in the fifth inning after hitting three doubles in a row. Shortly after, in the 6th inning, Team USA got their first hit of the game on a single to right from Brandon Crawford. Kinsler then followed up with a single of his own and Adam Jones made it a 2-1 game with a line drive double scoring @bcraw35. Kinsler then scored on a wild pitch from William Cuevas making it a 2-2 ballgame. Kayla Harper (Bryce’s wife) was getting pumped up at that point and started a USA chant on Twitter! USA! USA! USA!
Sam Dyson came in to pitch in the seventh for Team USA and retired three straight batters. Nate Jones then came into relieve Dyson but he was pulled and replaced by Pat Neshek after allowing two runners on base. Neshek, the right handed Minnesotan, threw the ball well and helped USA escape the inning.
Christian Yelich started off the 8th inning with a line drive double to center field. Ian Kinsler then followed up with a pop up single with Yelich advancing to third. Things got really exciting at that point but unfortunately Team USA couldn’t capitalize with runners at the corners.
The game eventually went to extra innings and the energy was high among fans. Adam Jones ended up being the hero with a walkoff RBI single in the 10th. Shortly afterward #walkoff was trending all over Twitter and USA fans were going crazy over the game winning knock!
Team USA had a huge challenge in their second game. Playing against last year’s winner the Dominican Republic, USA was the underdog. The first three innings went scoreless for both teams in what was looking like another pitching duel. USA got on the board first in the forth inning when Ian Kinsler scored on an outfield error. Adam Jones scored after Kinsler on a double from Christian Yelich.
Giancarlo Stanton came up to bat in the sixth inning and knocked in Paul Goldschmidt with a line drive double. Crawford followed up with his own line drive double and scored Stanton. At that point things were looking great for Team USA. Going to the middle of the sixth inning they had a 5-0 lead over the Dominican Republic. That all changed in the bottom of the sixth inning when Manny Machado hit a moon shot to make it a 5-1 game.
After Machado’s homerun Carlos Santana hit an RBI single and Team Dominicana started gaining momentum. Things then took a turn for the worst in the seventh when Nelson Cruz hit a three run bomb of off Andrew Miller. Starling Marte followed Cruz with another homerun and that ended up being the nail in the coffin for Team USA. Jeurys Familia closed out the game for The Dominican Republic and they ended up winning 7-5 in a close game.
Team USA faced off against Canada in their third game. Danny Duffy started off extremely well and things got bad for the Canadians early on when Eric Hosmer hit a double with the bases loaded in the first inning. USA was up 3-0 by the end of the first.
The damage continued when Nolan Arenado hit a three run bomb in the bottom of the second (see video). USA was up 7-0 after only two innings in what was beginning to look like a massacre for Canada. Meanwhile, Danny Duffy continued to pitch a gem! He struck out seven batters in four innings of work without allowing any runs to Team Canada. With the game already out of reach in the bottom of the 7th inning, Buster Posey hit a solo shot to make it an 8-0 victory for USA (see video).
After three games Team USA finished up 2-1 and now they will advance to San Diego for round two. Follow my World Baseball Classic coverage of USA Baseball @REALMCCOYMINORS as I live tweet the upcoming games against Venezuela, Puerto Rico and a rematch with the Dominican Republic.