Adam Jones’ two-out, walkoff single in the 10th inning gave Team USA a 3-2 win over Team Colombia in each team’s 2017 World Baseball Classic opener.
Back-to-back walks by Christian Yelich and Brandon Crawford with one out put the winning run in scoring position, and both runners moved up on Ian Kinsler’s groundout to second base. Jones lined an 0-2 pitch from Guillermo Moscoso into left-center field to give the Americans a narrow win.
Jones drove in two runs and was one of two hitters in the game to collect two hits. Tyler Clippard was credited with the win.
In its first-ever WBC game, Colombia battled against the heavily favored US squad. It took an initial lead in the fifth and had opportunities to break the tie late in the game but could not come through against an array of American relievers.
As expected, the game began as a pitchers’ duel between Chris Archer and Quintana. Archer only needed 41 pitches to mow down all 12 batters he faced, but manager Jim Leyland chose to cap his ace at four innings.
Quintana, who faced a taller task against the loaded Team USA lineup, was just as impressive. He walked Paul Goldschmidt in the second, but Buster Posey grounded into a double play, which allowed Quintana to face the minimum through five.
It was the fifth inning when Colombia shocked the Americans with a two-out rally to break the scoreless tie. Reliever Mychal Givens struck out the first two batters he faced before Jesus Valdez, Adrian Sanchez and Mauricio Ramos strung together three doubles to give the underdogs a 2-0 lead.
Nearing his mandated 65-pitch limit, Quintana finally surrendered his first hit to Crawford with two down in the sixth, and Team USA wasted no time getting to work against his replacement, William Cuevas. Kinsler singled, and Jones’ double got the US on the board. On a 2-2 slider, Nolan Arenado swung and missed to strike out, but catcher Jhonathan Solano was unable to block the wild pitch. Kinsler scored to tie the game, and Arenado beat the throw to first base to extend the inning.
Pinch-hitter Christian Yelich led off the eighth with a double, and he was at third base after Kinsler’s one-out single dropped in shallow left field. However, neither Jones nor Arenado could drive the go-ahead run in.
Each team will be in action again Saturday with Team USA facing off against the defending-champion Dominican Republic. The winner of that game is guaranteed to advance to the next round. Colombia will look for its first win against Canada, which lost to the Dominicans on Thursday.