MIAMI — Trea Turner and Paul Goldschmidt and an unrelenting United States lineup kept putting crooked numbers on the scoreboard, a dynamic display of the huge gap between an American team of major leaguers and Cubans struggling on the world stage as top players have left the island nation.
Turner homered twice to give him a tournament-leading four, driving in four runs to lead the US to a 14-2 rout Sunday night and advance the defending champion Americans to the World Baseball Classic final.
Goldschmidt also homered and had four RBIs and Cedric Mullins went deep in a game interrupted three times by fans running on the field to display protest signs.
“The team kind of represents the government over there, and people aren’t too happy about it,” US manager Mark DeRosa said.
The US plays Japan or Mexico in Tuesday night’s championship, trying to join the Samurai Warriors as the only nations to win the title twice.
“I think it took us a little bit of time, but now we kind of found our stride a little bit,” Turner said.
Turner has a tournament-leading 10 RBIs. He followed his go-ahead, eighth-inning grand slam a night earlier against Venezuela with a solo homer in the second inning off Roenis Elias (0-1) and a three-run drive in the sixth against Elian Leyva.
“I kept saying every time he went deep, who is the idiot that’s hitting him ninth?” DeRosa said.
Cuba went ahead when its first four batters reached off Adam Wainwright (2-0) without getting a ball out of the infield. The 41-year-old righthander recovered to strand the bases loaded.
“I put myself in that situation in the first place by making horrible PFP plays — or not making PFP plays,” Wainwright said in a reference to pitchers' fielding practice.
American batters had 14 hits, including eight for extra bases, and seven walks. Goldschmidt hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the first on a 112 mph rocket high over the left-field wall. He added a two-run single in the fifth.
“For me that was one of my favorite home runs I’ve ever hit in my entire life,” Goldschmidt said.
St. Louis third baseman Nolan Arenado left after he was hit on a hand by a pitch in the fifth inning, briefly raising another injury concern before X-rays came back as negative. Mets closer Edwin Díaz sustained a season-ending knee injury during the celebration that followed Puerto Rico’s win on Wednesday and Houston second baseman Jose Altuve broke a thumb when hit by a pitch while playing for Venezuela on Saturday.