Team USA pulled ahead 6-3 over the Dominican Republic on Saturday night to clinch their spot in next week’s World Baseball Classic semifinals. Amid the glitz of a game-winning Giancarlo Stanton moonshot and the glam of Andrew McCutchen’s two-run double in the eighth inning was a spectacular defensive play by the Orioles’ Adam Jones.
In the seventh inning, with Team USA leading 4-2, fellow Oriole and Dominican Republic third baseman Manny Machado worked a 2-1 count and sent a Tyler Clippard fastball hurtling toward the perimeter of right field. Jones engineered a perfect leap to net the ball, robbing Machado of a badly-needed home run and preserving a two-run lead for the U.S. Machado took the moment in stride, tipping his cap to his teammate as he jogged back to the dugout.
Jones was among those surprised by the play. Via FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal:
I’m still kind of in shock that I even got to that ball,” he said. “I mean, off the bat I’m just like, ‘This ball’s hit really far, so just keep going, keep going.’
The Dominican Republic didn’t have to wait long for their next opportunity. In the next at-bat, Robinson Cano lifted a change-up from Clippard over the left field fence, nearly getting robbed on another ambitious leap from left fielder Christian Yelich before it landed safely in the stands. Still, it wasn’t quite enough to close the gap between the teams, and a two-run rally in the ninth clinched the victory — and a place in the semifinals — for Team USA.