MIAMI – The fourth matchup between the United States and Venezuela on Saturday at loanDepot Park (7pm ET) will be the fifth between these teams in the history of the World Baseball Classic and just the second since they met three times in the 2009 edition.
The historical balance is three wins for the Americans and two for Vinotinto, with both victories playing a key role so that those reached by Luis Sojo in the 2009 semifinals, the best participation of Venezuela in the history of the event.
The most recent meeting was in the second round of the 2017 Clásico, although allowing 35 in the first round in Guadalajara, Mexico, Venezuela accompanied Puerto Rico to San Diego, where they were hosted by the USA on March 15.
Félix Hernández, after getting beat in his first start for that WBC, redeemed himself by pitching five shutout innings (3 H, 3 K) in a big hit against Drew Smyly. He returned the ball to the bullpen with the game up 1-0, and Venezuela extended their lead in the top of the 7th on Odori’s solo home run. Not for a long time.
The USA made it one in the bottom of the 7th and scored around home runs from Adam Jones and Eric Hosmer in the 8th.
The United States, led by Jim Leyland, continued to win the first World Cup and Omar Vizquel said goodbye to Venezuela with defeats against the Dominican Republic (3-0) and Puerto Rico (13-2).
Venezuela and the United States clashed for the first time on March 8, 2009 at the Rogers Center in Toronto.
That edition, the second event, was played under a double elimination format in which the team had lost the first two games. They started with two wins in Pool C, with Venezuela blanking Italy 7-0 and the United States beating Canada 6-5.
Expecting a direct victory to send Miami to the second round, the North Americans crushed the Llaneros 15-6. Who is the hero from that game? Mark DeRosa, now manager in the USA, with four RBIs.
On the third day, with each after a 10-1 beating from Venezuela to Canada, Sojo and his teammates claimed a 5-3 victory, a night in which they used six pitchers and in which they excelled in Blanco’s offense; Gregory (5-3, triple and double) and Henry (4-3, HR and double).
That victory allowed Venezuela to qualify for the first time in the group and the second round of the tournament, at the Hard Rock Stadium, against the Netherlands and not against Puerto Rico. Beat them both in a row, grab a spot in the semifinals and set the table for the third game against Team USA to once again determine who heads the bracket.
In another hit-fest, the Venezuelans took the injury of the first game with a 10-6 scoreline, this time behind the bats of Maximilian Ramírez, who homered and drove in three runs, and Miguel Cabrera (5-3, 2B, CI. ).
Fourteen years later, Cabrera and Venezuela will have a new opportunity to find victory again against the United States, hoping to repeat the history of 2017.