Mariners star Robinson Cano hit a career-high 39 home runs in 2016, and if there is any fear he won’t be able to flash that same kind of power in 2017 at the age of 34, he made an attempt to assuage that on Saturday night.
Playing for his native Dominican Republic against Team USA in a game that decided the fourth and final team to advance to the semifinals of the World Baseball Classic, Cano went opposite field for a solo home run to cut the Americans’ lead to 4-3 in the seventh inning.
This was no run-of-the-mill homer, either. Though it was a bit of a wall-scraper, the pitch that Cano drove out isn’t something you typically see leave any ball park, let alone in San Diego’s notoriously pitcher-friendly Petco Park. The pitch was a 79.5 mph changeup from USA reliever Tyler Clippard that was tailing down and away from Cano, who nevertheless went with it and got enough behind it to reach over the wall.
It would end up to be the last pitch Cano would see in this WBC, however. The Americans were saved by an incredible catch by Adam Jones to rob his Baltimore Orioles teammate Manny Machado of a homer in the at-bat previous to Cano’s shot (thus preventing Cano from tying the game), and Giancarlo Stanton smashed a massive homer earlier in the game to help the USA win 4-3 and send the Dominican Republic players back to spring training.
Cano finished the tournament hitting .300 with a double, home run and three RBIs in six games. Fellow Mariners slugger Nelson Cruz also hit .300 and led the DR with three homers and six RBIs, while Jean Segura went 4 for 11 with two doubles, three RBIs and a stolen base in two games.