Home » Cuba 2-14 USA: World Baseball Classic 2023 semi-final – as it happened

Cuba 2-14 USA: World Baseball Classic 2023 semi-final – as it happened

Key events

Final thoughts

Well, that one was decided relatively early but the USA has definitely proven itself in these last two knockout games after struggling somewhat in pool play.

The Guardian will be back to cover the US’s game against either Japan or Mexico in Tuesday’s 2023 WBC finale, but this will do it for today’s live coverage. Thanks to everyone who followed along with today’s live blog, particularly those who contributed.

You can read a full report from tonight’s game here:

USA is heading to the 2023 WBC Championship Game

USA will be heading to Tuesday’s championship game against the winner of tomorrow’s match between Mexico and Japan!

Cuba 2-14 USA, FINAL

Luis Robert hits a base hit. Oh and Kyle Higashioka is behind the plate for the US here, presumably to give Will Smith some rest after a long night.

Despaigne hits into a double play to end the game immediately after! The USA has beaten Cuba in a decisive fashion!

Cuba 2-14 USA, top 9th inning

USA pitcher Aaron Loup is getting some work in here, which is normally what one would say during a Spring Training outing but that’s kind of what this is at the moment.

He faces Luis Mateo who grounds out to first on one pitch. I’m cool with that!

Cuba 2-14 USA, bottom 8th inning

Goldschmidt is up again and he grounds out. We are FINALLY heading to the ninth inning.

Yet another home run (Cedric Mullins, Cuba 2-14 USA)

Cuba 2-14 USA, bottom 8th inning

Mullins hits another home run just to put a cherry on the sundae of this win for the US. The extra point is good, as they say in the NFL.

Cuba 2-13 USA, bottom 8th inning

Betts is up next. Wait, there’s another protester on the field.

There have now been more protesters on the field (3) than Cuba has scored runs (2).

— Stephanie Apstein (@stephapstein) March 20, 2023

Betts flies out for out number two.

Cuba 2-13 USA, bottom 8th inning

Rodríguez is out there for another inning of work and a chance to play baseball’s most dangerous game: try not to give up a home run to Trea Turner.

He strikes him out on a borderline check-swing call. I don’t blame the umpire at all for that one tbh.

Cuba 2-13 USA, top 8th inning

Santos decides to take the time to work a full count and I am trying not to take it personally. Guys have their numbers to think about. In any case, he grounds out to short to end the inning. To the bottom of the 8th where, barring the most hilarious thing to happen in World Baseball Classic history, the US will be batting for the final time.

Cuba 2-13 USA, top 8th inning

Guibert hits a base hit. The inning continues.

Cuba 2-13 USA, top 8th inning

Drake works a full count but grounds out to Betts at second for the second out.

Cuba 2-13 USA, top 8th inning

Lorenzo Quintana is pitching now for Cuba. Mookie Betts is at second base, McNeil is now in right field. Mikolas is still pitching.

Quintana grounds out for the first out.

I’m thoroughly enjoying the liveblog, btw. Moreso than the game itself.


— Patrick (PK) Keliher 🇺🇦 (@pakelihe) March 20, 2023

I appreciate that! In games like these, you kind of have to make your own fun.

Cuba 2-13 USA, bottom 7th inning

Yes! He gets Jeff McNeil to ground out on two pitches! I feel like popping a champagne bottle but a) I don’t have one b) don’t drink and c) probably would get in trouble if I did begin drinking on the job.

Cuba 2-13 USA, bottom 7th inning

José Ramón Rodríguez is pitching for Cuba and he gets Smith to foul out and Alonso to ground out.

Ooh, ooh, maybe now a 1-2-3 inning?

Seventh inning stretch

I’m going to be honest, thought I would be posting this 45 minutes ago or so.

Cuba 2-13 USA, top 7th inning

Ibáñez pops up and that might be as close to a 1-2-3 inning that we get in this one. Certainly can’t imagine the US batters going in order.

Cuba 2-13 USA, top 7th inning

Nope. Arruebarrena singles to right. A person can dream.

Cuba 2-13 USA, top 7th inning

Mikolas gets Robert to ground out on one pitch and Despaigne to ground out on two pitches.

Oh hey are we going to get a 1-2-3 inning finally? This would be a wonderful time for one.

Right now, this game is out of hand and we all just have to hope Moncada is okay. That looked pretty bad before the commercial break. He didn’t get up.

Cuba 2-13 USA, bottom 6th inning

Schwarber is up next, he falls behind 2-0 but he pops up and Santos just barely makes the catch. He also runs into Moncada, who is down and here comes the training staff.

That’s the end of the inning but it looks like Moncada is hurt and the training staff is out.

Cuba 2-13 USA, bottom 6th inning

Bobby Witt Jr just came in the game as a pinch-runner at the end of last inning and he’s already at the plate. Ridiculous. He works a full count and in the process, Mullins reaches third on a wild pitch.

Witt fouls off the next pitch. Still 3-2. He fouls off the next pitch. 3-2. He checks the swing on a ball outside and he’s on first base.

I think these US hitters have had absolutely no problem reading these Cuban pitchers. My pregame analysis was laughingly offbase.

Cuba 2-13 USA, bottom 6th inning

Still just one out in the bottom of the sixth. Cedric Mullins is pinch-running for Trout as the goal for manager Mark DeRosa is to prevent his big guys from getting hurt.

Goldschmidt pops up to second for the final out and it’s hitting to the point where I’m surprised when even of these hitters make an out.

RBI double! (Mike Trout, Cuba 2-13 USA)

Cuba 2-13 USA, bottom 6th inning

Frank Abel Álvarez is in pitching right now for Cuba and Betts hits a single off of him and Trout hits a double and that’s yet another run for team USA.

We have another pitching change for Cuba here. For the record, if the mercy rule were in place it would have been for a 10-run deficit after seven innings so we may indeed have been in mercy rule territory here if this were a pool play game but, again, that’s in not play in knockout rounds so we’re here until the ninth inning no matter what.

If you’re saying “what do you mean WE?” right now, I do not blame you.

3-run home run (Trea Turner, Cuba 2-12 USA)

Cuba 2-12 USA, bottom 6th inning

Trea Turner hits a freaking three-run home run. Are you kidding me? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? His second home run of the game, fourth of the tournament. Maybe the MVP of the tournament if the USA goes all the way.

Cuba 2-9 USA, bottom 6th inning

McNeil walks on four straight pitches. Two on, one out. Meanwhile, the x-rays on Nolan Arenado’s hand came back negative, which is good news.

Also I called him Nelson Arenado earlier in this live blog. Listen I had the “n’s” in the right places, you have to at least give me that.

Cuba 2-9 USA, bottom 6th inning

Smith starts the second off with a double of Leyva. Alonso tries to move him over but hits it to the wrong fielder and it’s just an unproductive groundout to short. I feel like the US won’t need to manufacture any runs in this game, however.

Cuba 2-9 USA, top 6th inning

Moncada is up next, falling behind 0-2. The crowd gets loud and is apparently rooting for a strikeout, despite the lopsided score. Definitely some enthusiasm here from the US supporters, maybe louder than yesterday’s game against Venezuela.

Oh they are getting loud because a fan has gotten on the field, which the cameras never show as to not encourage them. (I am against this policy, for the record, I want to laugh at the doofuses.)

Moncada takes a pitch outside and then flies out to Schwarber. To the bottom of the sixth!

Cuba 2-9 USA, top 6th inning

Santos flies out to Trout in the outfield. Two down in the sixth.

Cuba 2-9 USA, top 6th inning

Mikolas is still pitching for the US and Guibert hits his second infield hit of the game off of him.

My kingdom for a 1-2-3 inning.

Cuba 2-9 USA, top 6th inning

Defensive change: McNeil is now at second base, Witt Jr is at third base.

Drake shouts out to short to start the sixth inning.

Yes, Bobby Witt Jr was the pinch-runner there, so he’s definitely gone. Now we just have to hope he didn’t hurt his hand there like José Altuve was hurt yesterday.

Email from Pam Bishop:

Cuba vs USA in Miami!

Who will the crowd root for?

Well, the results are inconclusive here as the Cuba fans didn’t have much to cheer for after the first inning.

Cuba 2-9 USA, bottom 5th inning

Oh never mind, it’s called a hit-by-pitch? So he’s on first base instead and the bases are loaded. I had completely misread what was going on here, but it sure looked like he fouled it off.

Kyle Schwarber is at the plate with bases loaded and he grounds out. One imagines we won’t see Arenado again in this game, if only for precautionary reasons. To the sixth inning!

Cuba 2-9 USA, bottom 5th inning

Runners on the corner with Arenado at the plate. USA chants break out briefly. Arenado falls behind 0-2. He then fouls the next pitch off of him. He walks it off for a bit but eventually walks off to be replaced by a pinch-hitter who will inherit his 0-2 count.

2-run single! (Cuba 2-9 USA)

Cuba 2-9 USA, bottom 5th inning

And Leyva just needs an out here to get out of the bases loaded jam. Cuba might not win this game, they probably won’t, but if he can pull this off…

He can’t.

Goldschmidt hits a two-run single and, yeah, the US has now scored in every inning and Cuba looks like toast.

Cuba 2-7 USA, bottom 5th inning

Trout takes strike one. Trout fouls one off. 0-2. Leyva throws a pitch that Trout holds off on and it’s a called strike. He strikes Trout out on three pitches! What a moment for the Cuban pitcher!

Cuba 2-7 USA, bottom 5th inning

Good luck, Leyva. Here’s Mookie Betts with the bases loaded and nobody out.

Somehow it works? Betts grounds out sharply and the runners have to hold. Now it’s Mike Trout with one out and runners on every base.

Cuba 2-7 USA, bottom 5th inning

And Cuba wisely goes to the bullpen. It looks like Elián Leyva will be up next as Cuba tries to find an effective reliever against this All-Star US offense.

Cuba 2-7 USA, bottom 5th inning

On a 1-0 count, Bolaños throws his first strike of the inning to Turner but then throws two more outside. 3-1. Turner fouls off the next one. Full count.

On the next pitch, Turner gets a base hit and the bases are loaded and nobody is out. One more big hit here and this one might be officially over.

Cuba 2-7 USA, bottom 5th inning

Bolaños, who has an 0-4 record in the majors, walks pinch-hitter Jeff McNeil on four pitches after hitting Alonso.

This is not ideal. Two on, nobody out, no strikes thrown.

Cuba 2-7 USA, bottom 5th inning

Pete Alonso gets hit with a pitch to start the bottom of the 5th and our quest for a 1-2-3 inning continues.

Cuba 2-7 USA, top 5th inning

Martínez is up with runners on first and second and two out and strikes out.

And we are finally halfway through regulation. This one has not been quite as speedy as the previous two WBC games.