MIAMI — In a welcome change for the Mets, this time one of their own did some damage at the World Baseball Classic rather than limp home from it.
Pete Alonso, who snapped his 0-for-WBC slump in Saturday night’s win over Venezuela, got the start at DH in Sunday’s semifinal against Cuba and delivered an RBI single to help bust open Team USA’s 14-2 rout at loanDepot Park.
The defending WBC champions now await the winner of Monday’s semifinal between Japan and Mexico, with the title game to follow Tuesday night.
Trea Turner (3-for-5, four RBIs) swatted a pair of home runs Sunday night less than 24 hours after launching the eighth-inning grand slam that completed a 7-5 comeback victory over Venezuela. Paul Goldschmidt — the regular starter at first base over Alonso — also had four RBIs, including a two-run homer in the first that put Team USA ahead to stay.
“I don’t think I’ve hit a home run in spring training in 45 years or something like that,” Turner said. “It’s kind of funny how it works out, but I don’t ask questions. I just go out there and hopefully it continues.”
Alonso didn’t escape totally unscathed, getting grazed by a pitch in the fifth inning. He fared better than Nolan Arenado, who went 2-for-3 with an RBI triple but was removed from the game in the fifth inning after being drilled on the right hand — the night after Jose Altuve had his right thumb broken when he was hit by a pitch. Fortunately for Arenado, as well as the Cardinals, X-rays taken at the ballpark during the game were negative.
“Nolan’s fine,” Team USA manager Mark DeRosa said. “I think he would have fought me on it if the score was different. It was a great time to get him off his feet.”
The Mets' Jeff McNeil pinch hit for Tim Anderson in the fifth inning and went 0-for-1 with a pair of walks, scoring twice.
Six outs away from elimination Saturday, the United States had a much easier night against Cuba, which was completely overmatched despite having major-leaguers on its WBC roster for the first time.
The raucous crowd of 35,779 had a heavily Cuban presence, chanting frequently and waving flags. There were protests outside the stadium and the game was interrupted twice by fans running onto the field while unfurling signs as the fans cheered.
“I’ve pitched in some big spots,” said Adam Wainwright, whose only blemish through four innings was a bases-loaded walk after three soft infield singles in the first. “But never in front of a crowd like that tonight. That was the most crazy environment I’ve played in. Unbelievably blessed to be a part of that game.”