At the end of a dramatic back-and-forth duel, it was the Orioles' Adam Jones -- the five-time All-Star and seasoned World Baseball Classic veteran -- who lifted Team USA to a 3-2, 10-inning victory over Colombia in Friday's Pool C thriller at Marlins Park in Miami.
Friday's walk-off was one of just three in World Baseball Classic history for Team USA. In 2009, David Wright lined a low-and-away fastball into the right-field corner to score two against Puerto Rico in the Pool 2 qualifier. In 2006, Alex Rodriguez hit a bases-loaded single with two outs in a 4-3 win over Japan.
With two out, and after fouling off two 0-2 pitches, Jones lifted a hanging changeup into the gap in left-center, scoring Christian Yelich from third and capping a 2-for-5, two-RBI night.
:: 2017 World Baseball Classic ::
"Any win, I think no matter when you win, you win on a walk-off, it's big. But I think the situation, the magnitude, it's a little bit bigger," Jones told MLB Network postgame.
Jones, who started in center field and batted second, also began a rally that ended a scoreless drought in the sixth inning by lacing a two-out double deep down the left-field line that sent home Brandon Crawford, who two batters prior had ended a no-hit bid by Colombia starter Jose Quintana after 63 pitches, two shy of the first-round limit for WBC 2017.
"We kept fighting. This whole team kept fighting," Jones said. "That's the thing we're going to do. We're going to grind this whole thing out and keep fighting."
Friday's win was particularly significant, in large part because Team USA was so heavily favored, and because games against defending Classic champion Dominican Republic and Canada loom on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
"I want to tip my cap to Team Colombia. They played their hearts out," Jones said. "We just kept fighting, kept fighting and kept fighting. I think this was a great baseball game, [with] fighting from both sides."
Jones' last walk-off hit came on Aug. 7, 2012, to end a 14-inning marathon against the Mariners that was five minutes shy of five hours. It was one of 29 wins the Orioles won that season by one run, which, against just nine losses in such games for a .763 win percentage, set an MLB record (which was since broken by the 2016 Rangers).
Along with Giancarlo Stanton, Jones was the only position player from the '13 Team USA roster in the starting lineup on Friday.