LOS ANGELES —- Right-hander starting pitcher Marcus Stroman stopped Puerto Rico’s offense and with their own 13-hit attack, USA defeated Puerto Rico 8-0 at Dodger Stadium to win their first World Baseball Classic title. Stroman, who was named the Tournament MVP, was the star of the game pitching six plus innings and giving up just one hit and a walk while striking out three.
Stroman was brilliant through six innings, allowing no hits and facing just the minimum 18 batters. However, after a long break in the top of 7th inning, when USA scored three runs, Angel Pagan doubled to lead off the bottom of the inning and that was the end of Stroman’s game. Sam Dyson came in and he retired the next three batters in a row.
Manager Jim Leyland said “he had a long inning and I kind of second-guessed myself a little bit there, “ Leyland continued, “but his ball was sinking so good, if you looked, there were so many ground ball outs.”
Leyland concluded that “and I thought he deserved a chance, but it was probably a mistake on my part, to be honest with you.”
Stroman did not know that Leyland thought about taking him out before the bottom of 7th. “I’m sure I would have been upset initially but I have so much respect for Mr. Leyland,” Stroman said, “I loved playing for him, I’m kind of upset that he’s leaving the game and won’t be managing again. But I don’t think I would have battled him taking me out.”
Stroman said that tonight, “I was little more effective with my location and my sinker, I was down more.”
Stroman also said “I’ll be back in four years to defend the title.”
As for the offense, every USA hitter except Adam Jones had at least one hit and USA also received seven walks and one hit-by-pitch.
Ian Kinsler started the scoring in the 3rd inning with a two-run home run. In the 5th inning, Christian Yelich singled home Kinsler and with two outs, Andrew McCutchen singled home Yelich to make it 4-0.
The game blew open in the 7th inning when with the bases loaded and two outs, Brandon Crawford singled home two and then Giancarlo Stanton singled home one more.
In the 8th inning, after two outs and no one on base, Nolan Arenado got his second single in the game and Eric Hosmer followed with a single. McCutchen got an infield single to score Arenado and give USA their last run of the game.
Pat Neshek pitched the bottom of the 8th inning and allowed no runs, one hit, one walk and struck out one. David Robertson was on the mound to close out the game and give USA their first WBC title.
Team USA gave up one run in two games in the Championship Round. Stroman, Dyson, Neshek and Robertson combined to shutout Puerto Rico, giving up three hits and two walks while striking out six.
Leyland summarized his thoughts about this World Baseball Classic experience this way, “I believe we got through it totally healthy, totally happy and we’re the winners.”