Marcus Stroman avenged a loss to Puerto Rico by taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning, and the United States used a two-run homer by Ian Kinsler and two RBIs apiece by Brandon Crawford and Andrew McCutchen for an 8-0 victory in the World Baseball Classic final on Wednesday at Dodger Stadium.
Stroman gave up a walk to Carlos Beltran in the second inning and retired 14 in a row before Angel Pagan lined an opposite-field double down the left field line to open the seventh inning. The U.S. led 7-0 at that point.
Manager Jim Leyland then removed Stroman, who received a thunderous ovation from the crowd of 51,565. The Toronto Blue Jays right-hander was greeted with hugs in the dugout as the U.S. won in its first appearance in the title game in the fourth WBC.
“I love pitching in these moments,” Stroman 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. I truly try to pride myself on being a big-game pitcher. I’ll be back in four years to defend the title.”
Kinsler’s two-run homer off Seth Lugo broke a scoreless tie in the third inning, and Christian Yelich and McCutchen had run-scoring singles in the fifth.
Crawford hit a two-run single and Giancarlo Stanton had an RBI single in the seventh inning. McCutchen drove in the final run with an infield single in the eighth.
“It is a very special moment,” said Leyland, who won a World Series with the Florida Marlins in 1997. “We got through it totally healthy, totally happy, and we are the winners. We had the right players. We had the players that wanted to be here. All these teams are really good, and we beat them all.”
Puerto Rico, which outscored its opponents 55-18 while winning its first seven games, beat Stroman and the United States 6-5 in the second round Friday.
Stroman, named the tournament MVP, struck out three and walked one while throwing 73 pitches. He finished with a 2.35 ERA in 15 1/3 innings during the tournament.
Sam Dyson, Pat Neshek and David Robertson each threw a scoreless inning to complete the United States’ three-hit shutout.
Pagan had two hits.
“I think the best two teams were out there tonight, and they beat us in all phases of the game,” Puerto Rico manager Edwin Rodriguez said. “They’re loaded with All-Star players. They came out today to play. They out-pitched us. They out-scored us. They out-hit us. I mean, it was a great game.”
Crawford was 10-for-26 (.385) with three doubles and six RBIs in eight WBC games. Yelich had two hits Wednesday and finished 9-for-29 (.310).
“I think it makes it more special that America hadn’t done it before,” Crawford said.
Jonathan Lucroy singled to open the third inning before Kinsler hit an 0-1 fastball to left-center field for his first homer of the WBC. Center fielder Enrique Hernandez leaped at the fence but did not have a play.
The United States hit three homers off Lugo in their two meetings. Buster Posey and Adam Jones hit bases-empty homers in Puerto Rico’s 6-5 victory in the second round at Petco Park in San Diego.
Lugo, who had victories in each of the first two rounds, gave up five hits and four runs in four-plus innings. He struck out seven and walked four.
NOTES: The all-tournament team was Puerto Rico C Yadier Molina, U.S. 1B Eric Hosmer, Puerto Rico 2B Javier Baez, Puerto Rico SS Francisco Lindor, Puerto Rico 3B Carlos Correa, U.S. LF Christian Yelich, Dominican Republic CF Gregory Polanco, Netherlands RF Wladimir Balentien, U.S. RHP Marcus Stroman, Japan RHP Kodai Senga and Israel RHP Josh Zeid. Molina, Hosmer and Balentien were unanimous selections. … The Puerto Rican team gathered outside the dugout and took a knee afterward. Then led by Molina, the squad walked en masse toward the celebrating U.S. players, tipped their caps and applauded. … U.S. CF Adam Jones said the team had extra motivation: “Before the game, we heard there were some championship T-shirts made, and we didn’t make them.” … During pregame introductions, Puerto Rico’s starters removed their caps and brought their hands to their heads to display their newly blond hair. Clean-head Carlos Beltran brought his hand to his bleached beard. The players changed hair color during training as a show of team unity. … Puerto Rico won three of the previous five meetings against the United States in the WBC. Puerto Rico eliminated the U.S. in 2013 with a 4-3 victory in the second round of pool play.