Mookie Betts and Team USA defeated Colombia, 3-2, on Wednesday in the final game of World Baseball Classic pool play. Their win sets up a quarterfinals matchup of Los Angeles Dodgers ties against David Peralta and Team Venezuela. Julio Urías and Austin Barnes are slated to take on Puerto Rico on Friday on the other side of the bracket.
Betts’ two-out single in the top of the third inning was followed up with a wild pitch which put him on second base. Team USA center fielder Mike Trout lined a breaking ball from Colombia right-hander Santiago Flores up the middle to give them a 1-0 lead.
Heading into the fifth inning, Team USA was in a 2-1 hole until Will Smith walked and Betts logged his second hit of the game. This put runners on second and third for Trout, who roped a two-run single to left field and provided a lead that the bullpen wouldn’t give up.
Across four pool play games, Betts tallied four hits and four runs while playing stellar defense in right field for Team USA. Betts has yet to play second base, which Team USA manager Mark DeRosa explained was tentatively ruled out of the equation after a loss to Team Mexico.
Smith had just one hit over two games, a solo home run on Tuesday, in a losing effort to Mexico.
Meanwhile, Freddie Freeman missed Team Canada’s final game due to a right hamstring strain. Freeman is confident he will recover in time for Opening Day on March 30.
Peralta has been the most successful of all the Dodgers in the WBC, carrying a .400/.535/.600 batting line with four hits, four RBI, three walks and a stolen base through four games.
Team Venezuela went undefeated with a 4-0 record in a loaded Pool D which included Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic as the two other powerhouse clubs.
Urías’ full availability is still in question for Team Mexico, mainly due to pitch limits and how the Dodgers will allow him to be used in the quarterfinals.
In Urías only start to open the tournament, he was perfect through four innings before allowing three runs in the fifth. He threw 62 pitches in the outing.
Mookie Betts wants to be Magic Johnson of ‘Dream Team’ for Team USA
The Team USA roster features 20 All-Stars, led by a captain in Trout, who recruited Betts, and the rest followed suit.
Other notable players include Nolan Arenado Paul Goldschmidt, J.T. Realmuto, Kyle Schwarber and former Dodgers shortstop Trea Turner. The stacked roster has drawn comparisons similar to the 1992 United States men’s Olympic Basketball team, coined the “Dream Team,” who went on to win the gold medal in the summer games.
Betts said this year’s WBC club is similar in star power to that 1992 Olympic basketball team, and he would welcome the part of Los Angeles Lakers legend and Dodgers part-owner Magic Johnson.
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