Grand slam Trea Turner leads the USA to comeback with victory over Venezuela in the WBC
MIAMI – Trea Turner hit a grand slam in the eighth inning that lifted the United States over Venezuela 9-7 on Saturday night and into the semifinals of the World Baseball Classic.
The defending champions, Team USA, will face Cuba on Sunday night for a spot in the WBC Championships.
Venezuelan second baseman and Houston Astros star Jose Altuve left the game in the fifth inning with a right hand injury after being hit by a pitch from Daniel Bard.
The Astros said there will be an update on his condition on Sunday.
Trailing 7-5, the USA loaded the bases in the eighth on a single and hit a pitch off losing pitcher Jose Quijada.
He relieved Silvino Bracho and then sent Turner, the ninth batter in the USA lineup, his 0-2 change-up 407 feet deep into left field for the third grand slam in Team USA history.
David Bednar, the fifth American pitcher, got the win. Ryan Pressley had a three-point save.
Luis Aries, who was playing the soon-to-be infield with the Miami Marlins, hit two home runs for Venezuela.
The American team boasts a roster of big names that many have chosen to repeat as WBC champions.
All nine players in the USA team’s lineup are all-stars, including Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout, St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and Cardinals third baseman Nolan Arenado.
The United States is among the tournament’s top six in batting average (. 296), RBI (34) and hits (48), and every American player had a hit Saturday night.
Venezuela took a 6-5 lead in four fifth innings after Ronald Acuña Jr.’s sacrifice flye deep field.
Salvador Pérez led in the tying run with a double drive offside line inside the left field foul line.
Ariez hit in the first inning of a home run to right field, his first home run in his new home park, and added another in the seventh to give Venezuela a two-out lead. Arraez, the AL batting champion, was traded to WBC host Miami Marlins this offseason after four seasons in Minnesota.
Bard replaced American starter Lance Lane with a three-run home run in the fifth and loaded the bases with two walks, a home run, and a groundout that injured Altuve.
Bard was pulled after Jiliber Torres scored on a wild pitch to make it 5-3. Venezuela added their last three runs against Jason Adam, who managed to get out of the innings in 10 pitches.
Team USA hit five consecutive solo hits to start the game. Betts drove off first on a single, then the fast driver raced first through third on Trout’s single, forcing Acuña to throw a error to score.
Kyle Tucker also hit a homer for the United States