Team USA entered their first game in the second round of the 2017 World Baseball Classic with what appeared to be a very difficult match-up in front of them. Venezuela had an All-Star level line-up, featuring Jose Altuve, Victor Martinez, Miguel Cabrera and Carlos Gonzalez with Seattle Mariners ace, Felix Hernandez, starting. Team USA would be sending Drew Smyly to the mound, who had finished 2016 with a 7-12 record and a 4.88 ERA with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Team USA Powers Past Team Venezuela
Venezuela scored first in the third inning, when Smyly gave up a single to Gonzales, then allowed Robinson Chirinos to reach on a throwing error. Ender Inciarte then brought Gonzales home with a sacrifice fly, giving Venezuela a 1-0 lead.
After Venezuela scored, Smyly was absolutely lights out, retiring eight in a row and recording six consecutive strikeouts. Smyly ended up getting a no decision, but would collect eight strikeouts while only allowing three hits.
In the seventh inning, Rougned Odor brought Venezuela’s lead to two, when he hit a solo home run off of David Robertson. Team USA would quickly answer back, scoring in the bottom of the seventh inning when Jonathan Lucroy drove in Eric Hosmer, cutting Venezuela’s lead in half. Adam Jones tied things up in the eighth inning when he hit a solo home run off of Hector Rondon. Rondon would go on to have a disastrous inning, giving up a single to Christian Yelich, and two-run shot to Eric Hosmer that would give Team USA a 4-2 lead.
Luke Gregerson pitched the ninth inning for Team USA, earning the save, and helping the Americans move into first place in Pool F.