Captain Mike Trout drove in all three runs on Wednesday as the US defeated Colombia 3-2 to book their place in the quarter-finals at the World Baseball Classic (WBC).
Los Angeles Angels outfielder Trout — one of the figureheads of a star-studded US lineup — knocked in singles in the third and fifth innings to send the US into the last eight.
The US, who have recovered after being upset by Mexico in their second game in Pool C on Sunday, face Venezuela in Miami today with a semi-final showdown with Cuba awaiting the winner.
Colombia, needing a big win over the hosts to have any chance of progressing, raised the prospect of an upset after Reynaldo Rodriguez doubled to score Jorge Alfaro for a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the third.
However, Trout singled in the fifth inning to score Los Angeles Dodgers duo Will Smith and Mookie Betts, and put the US 3-2 ahead.
Closer Ryan Pressly then got the save in the ninth inning to wrap up the win.
US manager Mark DeRosa lavished praise on Trout.
“I see one of the best players of all time,” DeRosa said of Trout. “The way he’s able to swing the baseball bat ... it was a huge knock for us. Couldn’t be happier for him.”
Elsewhere on Wednesday, Venezuela completed their perfect pool-stage campaign with a 5-1 win over Israel in Pool D in Miami.
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