Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
USA beats Colombia to advance to WBC quarters
PHOENIX — Mike Trout had three hits and three RBIs Wednesday to lead Team USA to a 3-2 victory over Colombia and a spot in the World Baseball Classic quarterfinals.
The U.S. and Mexico each finished 3-1 in games played at Chase Field to take the top two spots in Pool C. Mexico earned the top seed in the quarterfinals from the pool because of its 11-5 win over the Americans on Sunday.
The U.S. will play Pool D winner Venezuela in the quarterfinals Saturday in Miami.
Trout finished 3-for-4 with a triple and two singles while driving in all of Team USA’s runs.
In his three previous WBC games, Trout was 2-for-8 while batting at the No. 2 spot in the lineup. Leadoff hitter Mookie Betts was 2-for-13.
They combined for more hits against Colombia than they had in the first three games, going 5-for-8. Betts was 2-for-4 with two runs.
The rest of the U.S. batters were 2-for-23 in the game.
The Americans took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning thanks to a two-out rally by a Betts single. The Dodgers outfielder moved to second base on a wild pitch by Santiago Florez before Trout singled to center field that scored Betts.
U.S. starter Merrill Kelly, pitching at his home field with the Arizona Diamondbacks, worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the second inning but again encountered problems in the third after allowing a leadoff double to Oscar Mercado.
Following a ground out that moved Mercado to third base, Gio Urshela hit a sacrifice fly to center field that scored Mercado.
Jorge Alfaro then reached on an infield single before Reynaldo Rodriguez belted a double off the center field wall, scoring Alfaro to give Colombia a 2-1 lead.
The U.S. rallied for two runs in the top of the fifth behind a two-run single by Trout off reliever Jasier Herrera, who was the fifth of eight pitchers used by Colombia.
Herrera came in for Ruben Galindo, the losing pitcher who walked U.S. catcher Will Smith and gave up a single to Betts before Trout’s two-run single.
Ryan Pressly pitched ninth inning for the save, striking out Jordan Diaz to end the game after Elias Diaz reached before him on an infield single.
Kendall Gravemen pitched a scoreless fourth inning for the win.
–Javier Morales, Field Level Media