Team USA came from behind to beat Venezuela 4-2 on Wednesday in the second round of the World Baseball Classic.
The USA trailed by two runs late and used two home runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to win the game. Eric Hosmer hit the game-winning home run with the game tied at two at the time. The two-run HR was Hosmer's first in the tournament.
Through two games of Pool F, Team USA and Puerto Rico are now tied at 1-0. Venezuela and the Dominican Republic meanwhile are both 0-1. The second round uses a round-robin system, meaning all teams will play one another once. A tiebreaker game is also possible if needed.
Venezuela started the scoring with a sacrifice fly from Ender Inciarte in the second inning. Drew Smyly was dealing for Team USA at the time, while Felix Hernandez did the same for Venezuela. It appeared for a brief moment, that one run could hold up for some time. Smyly did all he could with eight strikeouts in 4.2 innings.
In the bottom of the third inning, the USA almost got to Hernandez when the team loaded the bases with only one out. Hernandez would include a double play however to end the threat and retain the lead.
There would be no runs for either team until the top of the seventh inning. Rougned Odor hit a home run to double Venezuela's lead with nobody on and two outs in the frame.
In the bottom half of the seventh inning, Team USA got that run right back via a sacrifice fly off the bat of Jonathan Lucroy. The Americans threatened to add more, but stranded two runners on base to end the inning.
In the bottom of the eighth inning with Venezuela up by a run, Adam Jones tied things up with a home run. That was just the beginning of the aforementioned game-winning rally. The USA almost added even more, but the inning ended with the bases loaded.
Despite his career success at Petco Park, Giancarlo Stanton did not start in this game. Stanton has been slumping all spring long, and was replaced in the lineup by Andrew McCutchen. It is possible Stanton could return to the USA lineup for the next game, but manager Jim Leyland has not confirmed that as of yet.
Venezuela will be right back in action on Thursday to take on the Dominican Republic.