World Baseball Classic

Team USA Returns to World Baseball Classic Title Game With Rout of Cuba

The Americans will face either Japan or Mexico in the championship game

NBC Universal, Inc.

Team USA is heading back to the World Baseball Classic title game.

One night after a thrilling quarterfinal win over Venezuela, the reigning champions crushed Cuba 14-2 in front of a sold-out crowd at loanDepot park in Miami on Sunday. Team USA scored at least one run in the first six innings of the lopsided win.

The Americans will look to defend their WBC title in the championship game on Tuesday. They'll face the winner of the other semifinal between Mexico and Japan, which takes place on Monday. Mexico handed Team USA its only loss, while Japan is the tournament's last remaining unbeaten team.

While it wound up being a comfortable victory, Team USA got off to a shaky start in the semifinal. With limited arms available in the United States' bullpen, Cuba began the game with three straight infield singles. Adam Wainwright then delivered a bases-load walk to Alfredo Despaigne, putting Cuba ahead 1-0.

But the 41-year-old Wainwright limited the damage to just one run by retiring the next three batters -- and Team USA wouldn't trail for long.

In the bottom of the first, Paul Goldschmidt hit a two-run homer to left field off southpaw Roenis Elias.

The Americans took Elias deep again in the next inning, and this time it was the hero from their quarterfinal triumph. Trea Turner, who hit a game-winning grand slam against Venezuela, crushed a no-doubter to left for a 3-1 lead.

Team USA continued to pad its lead with two runs in the third on an RBI single from Pete Alonso and a sacrifice fly from Tim Anderson.

Goldschmidt and his St. Louis Cardinals teammate Nolan Arenado combined to give the U.S. another two-run inning in the fourth. Goldschmidt scored from first on a two-out triple from Arenado, who later crossed the plate on a wild pitch for a 7-1 advantage.

Cuba finally got back on the board with one run off Miles Mikolas in the fifth, but Team USA provided an immediate response thanks to a two-out, two-RBI single from Goldschmidt.

In the next at-bat, Arenado got by a pitch on his right hand and exited the game. X-rays on Arenado's hand were negative.

The Americans broke the game wide open with a four-run sixth, highlighted by a three-run homer to left-center from Turner for his second dinger of the night.

The new Philadelphia Phillies shortstop went 3-for-5 with four RBIs. Goldschmidt also drove in four runs.

In the ninth, Cedric Mullins put an exclamation point on the win by hammering a solo shot to right-center for the Americans' fourth home run and 14th hit.

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