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Trea Turner’s eighth inning go-ahead grand slam leads Team USA past Venezuela at World Baseball Classic

Never count out the Americans.

After entering the top of the eight with their backs against the wall down two runs, Trea Turner walloped a no-doubt grand slam from sea to shining sea to give the Americans the 9-7 lead that lifted Mark DeRosa’s club to a quarterfinal win over Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic on Saturday night at loanDepot Park in Miami.

Turner’s second homer of the tournament gave the Americans a new lifeline to repeat as WBC champions as their chances looked bleak with Venezuela being six outs away — with a two-run lead — from advancing to the semifinals.

“When you get punched in the mouth, you got to respond,” Turner said in his postgame interview on FOX. “I felt like I was in a good spot to let the fastball get deep and just get the barrel on it and not try to do to much.

“It was electric, that was really fun. I don’t really know what I did [rounding the bases] I feel like I blacked out.”

Team USA entered the bottom of the fifth with a 5-2 lead, however, the Venezuelans posted four runs in the frame to jump in front 6-5. Daniel Bard came on for starter Lance Lynn — who threw four innings allowing two runs — and imploded for the United States.

Bard was charged four runs on one hit and two walks without registering an out. The 37-year-old was pulled for the Rays’ Jason Adam who came in with the bases loaded and nobody out and surrendered the lead.

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The Marlins’ Luis Arraez — playing in his new home ballpark after an offseason trade sent him from the Twins to Miami — added another run giving his club a 7-5 lead in the bottom of the seventh. Arraez was the standout performer for his Venezuelan squad going 2-for-4 with two homers, four RBI and three runs.

The 25-year-old displayed a power stroke that he hasn’t during MLB play as the left-handed hitter has just 14 career homers in 389 games. However, he does have an AL batting championship under his belt after hitting .316 for the Twins in 2022.

Martin Perez was the starter for Venezuela on Saturday and he got the quick hook. The USA squad opened up with three early runs — all charged to Perez — in the top of the first as the southpaw registered just one out allowing five hits. Astros’ righty Luis Garcia took the chunk of the workload Perez left behind as he threw four frames allowing two runs.

Devin Williams tossed a scoreless eighth while Ryan Pressly followed suite for the close to secure the 9-7 final.

The United States will now turn their attention to Cuba who awaits them in the semifinal on Sunday in Miami. Pitching has been a hot-button issue for the red, white and blue, however, DeRosa could turn to 41-year-old Adam Wainwright who should be well-rested should he be called upon for the matchup.

Wainwright tossed four innings allowing five hits and one run while striking out four against Great Britain on March 11 in USA’s WBC opener.

The winner of Sunday’s matchup will await the results of Shohei Ohtani’s led Japan against Mexico — who defeated Team USA in Pool C play on March 12 — Monday night. Either way, the tall task of repeating as champions will not get any easier for the Americans.

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