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USA Makes History with 8-0 Shutout over Puerto Rico in WBC Final

By Matt Lofgren

History, in every sense of the word, was made Wednesday night.

Not only did the United States win its first ever World Baseball Classic title, 8-0, despite being heavy underdogs to the murderers’-row-esc lineup of Puerto Rico, but Toronto’s Marcus Stroman put the country on his back with a no-hitter into the seventh and gave the good guys a reason to believe.

Looking locked in like midseason form, Stroman, who fell to Puerto Rico once before in this WBC, was in a word phenomenal. Stepping into the big spot with everything on the line, Stroman looked like this game was personal as he played the role of hero to help the US surpass all the odd to claim the elusive World Baseball Classic crown.

Now, not enough can be said of Stroman’s performance, but even Achilles needed some help and that help came in large part from a group effort, but without the aid of Ian Kinsler, there may not be a WBC title in the US.

Kinsler was the man with the lumber for the US as his early 2-run gave the red, white and blue a lead to believe in and never look back from.

But the party was just beginning.

Turning Dodgers’ Stadium into a sandlot of revenge, the US gave everyone watching something to believe in. Shortly after, Miami’s Christian Yelich added a huge run before the big names started the contribute.

An RBI single by Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen added to the US lead to make it 4-0 before a crucial seventh inning sealed the deal for the US.

Just one inning after making all three outs for the US, San Francisco’s Brandon Crawford came through in the clutch with a big single to right-center that scored Nolan Arenado and Eric Hosmer to put the US up 6-0.

Collecting another RBI off the slugger Giancarlo Stanton to make it 7-0, it was time for Stroman to return in the seventh to attempt to seal the deal on the greatest WBC outing ever.

Falling short by giving up a hit to Angel Pagan to start the seventh, Stroman turned the ball over to Sam Dyson and received a well-deserved standing ovation to more than 51,000 in attendance in LA.

With a large lead and all the confidence in the world, the home-country fans boasted a “U-S-A” chant for the rest of the world to hear that could not be silenced. Committing to spring process, the US made the tough road to the finals, but overcame all the obstacles.

Stopping Puerto Rico on a 13-game winning streak, the hard-fought win was one for the ages as Arenado recorded the final out of the to end the tournament as a win for the good guys.

It wasn’t the Miracle on Ice from 1980, but it was certainly improbable in the end.

Manager Jim Leyland could not have summed it up any better.

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