The United States won the 2017 World Baseball Classic on Wednesday night, defeating Puerto Rico 8-0 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Toronto Blue Jays righthander Marcus Stroman no-hit the powerful Puerto Rican offense for six innings, and Detroit Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler hit a two-run home run and scored twice to help pace the American bats early in an easy win.
The game got off to a slow start, as Stroman and Puerto Rico starter Seth Lugo opened with a pair of scoreless innings. The United States did not take long to break the 0-0 tie after that, though. Texas Rangers catcher Jonathan Lucroy singled to open the top of the third inning. Two pitches later, Kinsler turned a Lugo fastball around, depositing it over the center field wall for his first home run of the tournament. The Americans threatened later in the inning, as center fielder Adam Jones advanced to second base, but Nolan Arenado struck out to end the inning.
Two innings later, the Americans doubled their lead. Kinsler singled to lead off the top of the fifth, and advanced to second on a Jones walk with no outs. Christian Yelich singled to right after a six-pitch battle, scoring Kinsler and sending Lugo to the showers.
With two on and no outs, Puerto Rican manager Edwin Rodriguez turned to Tigers reliever Joe Jimenez. The 22-year-old flamethrower was bailed out somewhat by a bad Arenado bunt — Jimenez alertly nabbed the lead runner at third base on the play — but he escaped the inning after allowing one inherited runner to score. Jimenez’s outing was more impressive than the box score might indicate, as he did not allow a ball out of the infield (with some help from Francisco Lindor).
The U.S. extended their lead to 7-0 with a lengthy two-out rally in the top of the seventh. Minnesota Twins righthander Jose Berrios lost his command after getting two quick outs, and loaded the bases before departing. He was relieved by J.C. Romero, a lefthander who last played in Major League Baseball in 2012. Despite getting ahead of U.S. shortstop Brandon Crawford, Romero allowed a two-run single before being removed from the game. Giancarlo Stanton greeted righthander Hiram Burgos with a sharp single to left, scoring another run.
Meanwhile, Stroman was busy shutting down a Puerto Rican lineup that had averaged 7.86 runs per game in the WBC. He struck out three and walked one in six innings, generating a bevy of weak ground balls along the way. He did not allow a hit in the first six innings, and departed after free agent Angel Pagan led off the bottom of the seventh with a double down the left field line.
Manager Jim Leyland turned to relievers Sam Dyson, Pat Neshek and David Robertson from that point on. The trio combined to shut down Team Puerto Rico over the final three innings, and Team USA cruised into history.