Watch: Trea Turner’s heroic grand slam sends Team USA to WBC semifinal
There will likely be just a short list of moments in Trea Turner’s life more memorable than the day he signed an 11-year, $300 million contract with the Phillies this past December. One swing of the bat on Saturday night in Miami may very well qualify.
“It’s probably number one, homer-wise,” Turner agreed.
With no outs in the top of the eighth inning, the bases loaded and Team USA trailing by two in the World Baseball Classic quarterfinal against Venezuela, the Phillies’ new star shortstop sent an 0-2 changeup 407 feet into loanDepot Park’s left field bleachers — and, eventually, the United States into Sunday’s semifinal against Cuba.
It was the definition of a no-doubter, and it came in USA’s biggest moment of the tournament thus far.
“It was electric. It was really fun. I don’t really know what I did. It felt like I blacked out,” Turner told FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal on the field after the game. “It was a big homer. It was fun. That’s why we’re playing. That’s why we’re here.”
Turner came to the plate with that golden opportunity in part because of a Phillies teammate’s help. After Tim Anderson started the rally with a walk, Pete Alonso (pinch-hitting for Kyle Schwarber in the seven-hole) singled on a bloop to right.
Eight-hole hitter J.T. Realmuto was then hit by a pitch to load the bases for Turner, the nine-hole hitter. After wearing the 95-mph fastball on the elbow, Realmuto (who doubled earlier in the game) stared down Venezuela left-hander Jose Quijada, reminding Phillies fans of Alec Bohm’s reaction to his hit by pitch in Game 1 of the 2022 Wild Card Series — especially given what followed.
Turner’s pivotal at bat almost came against a (somewhat) familiar face. Phillies flamethrower José Alvarado was warming up in Venezuela’s bullpen, but manager Omar López went with right-hander Silvino Bracho instead.
Alvarado fired a scoreless ninth inning to keep his team’s deficit at two, but it wound up being his last appearance in this year’s iteration of the Classic. Ryan Pressly (remember him?) closed things out for Team USA in the bottom half to send Turner, Schwarber, Realmuto and Team USA to the semis — and, soon, Alvarado to Phillies camp in Clearwater.
All parties involved were six outs away from the reverse scenario. But Turner’s swing changed everything.
“We wanted to match the energy tonight, because we knew that we’d be basically playing on the road. Fans were electric, those guys were tough. Just got to keep battling and match that energy. I’m glad we came out on top,” Turner said. “These are elimination games. It’s win-or-go-home. We’ve got another one in a couple days we’ve got to get ready for. But this helps us get to that goal [of winning the WBC].”
Turner told Rosenthal he’s still been trying to “find his swing” early in Spring Training and the World Baseball Classic.
It will be some sight to see once he does.
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