U.S. routs Puerto Rico to win first ti­tle

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS - By Beth Har­ris

LOS AN­GE­LES — The United States routed Puerto Rico 8-0 to win its first World Base­ball Clas­sic in four tries Wed­nes­day night be­hind six hit­less in­nings from Mar­cus Stro­man. “It’s a dif­fer­ent feel­ing when the USA is on your chest,”first base­man Eric Hos­mer said.“We wanted to get the U.S. back on top of the base­ball world, and we did that.” For a sport known as Amer­ica’s pas­time, the U.S. had strug­gled since the WBC be­gan in 2006. Twice, the Amer­i­cans lost in the sec­ond round, and they went out in the semi­fi­nals in 2009. Af­ter the fi­nal out, the Amer­i­cans massed on the mound, hug­ging and high-fiv­ing while fire­works ex­ploded in cen­ter field. Some of them grabbed a U.S. flag and cir­cled the warn­ing track, wav­ing it in cel­e­bra­tion with fans in the stands. “There was only one thing on our mind, was to win this thing and to do what­ever we can to win,” left fielder Chris­tian Yelich said. “That helped us come to­gether.” The U.S. pounded out 13 hits and fin­ished with a 6-2 record while mak­ing the fi­nal for the first time in front of 51,565 at Dodger Sta­dium. Puerto Rico lost for the first time in eight games af­ter outscor­ing the op­po­si­tion 55-26. Tour­na­ment MVP Stro­man avenged his shak­i­ness in the Amer­i­cans’ 6-5 loss to Puerto Rico dur­ing pool play. The righthander from the Toronto Blue Jays gave up one hit in six-plus in­nings, struck out three and walked one on 73 pitches. “I love pitch­ing in these mo­ments,” he said. “I love the at­mos­phere. I feel like the big­ger the game, the more I’m able to get up, the more ef­fec­tive I am.”

JAE C. HONG / AP

U.S. pitcher Mar­cus Stro­man holds up his MVP tro­phy af­ter the Amer­i­cans de­feated Puerto Rico 8-0 in the WBC fi­nal Wed­nes­day.

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