The Netherlands and Puerto Rico played a really fun WBC semifinal while you slept

On Monday night, the Netherlands and Puerto Rico played the first semifinal game of this World Baseball Classic. It was a wild, thrilling, four-hour affair that required 11 innings before Puerto Rico won on a walk-off sacrifice fly. 

Because the game didn’t start until 9 p.m. ET on a Monday night, many fans had to prioritize sleeping over watching the game to completion. Late start times have been a tournament staple, and both Tuesday night’s United States-Japan semifinal and the championship game Wednesday will begin at 9 p.m. During the pool play, games were regularly starting at 10 p.m. Consider that a less-than-ideal way to hook the younger generation on the WBC -- or, heck, baseball in general.

We figured we would help out anyone who had to hit the sack by chronicling some of the game’s highlights. Or, if you saw the game, we figured we would put it all together for you to share that wild and crazy game with as many people as you can. Because baseball is fun and this was baseball at its most fun. 

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In the end, Puerto Rico advanced to the WBC final. USATSI

The first inning was one for the ages and included a showboating blooper for the ages

If the Netherlands is kicking itself about something after this game, it’s about the first inning. Take a look at the first order of business: two silly base-running gaffes.

As you can see, both Andrelton Simmons and Jurickson Profar cost the Netherlands base runners with silly mistakes -- one got picked off between second and third, the other was slow to return to the bag. Those two mistakes loomed large for two reasons. First, since they came before Wladimir Balentien delivered a massive two-run home-run that could’ve -- in theory, anyway -- been a grand slam:

Second, because a grand slam would’ve seen the Netherlands retain the lead -- even after Carlos Correa did this during the bottom half of the first:

Everyone got involved

Team Puerto Rico is loaded with stars -- be it Correa or Yadier Molina or Francisco Lindor. Naturally, though, it was a non-star who gave it their first lead of the night. Here’s New York Mets utility infielder T.J. Rivera hitting the game’s third home run in its second inning:

Later, yet another talented P.R. infielder, Javier Baez, supplied a highlight play. Take a look at this slide:

Baez would make another important play later on -- throwing out what would’ve been the go-ahead run at the plate:

The final stages

As is the case with most any elimination game, both sides showed a lot of emotion. Take a look at Edwin Diaz, who struck out the side for Puerto Rico in the 10th:

Then check out Diaz after he induced an inning-ending double-play in the 11th -- with the bases loaded:

The celebration capper came, of course, on the decisive play. Here’s Eddie Rosario plating Correa to advance Puerto Rico to the championship game:

The big takeaway? Baseball is fun.

CBS Sports Staff

R.J. Anderson joined CBS Sports in 2016. He previously wrote for Baseball Prospectus, where he contributed to five of the New York Times bestselling annuals. His work has also appeared in Newsweek and... Full Bio

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