Trea Turner does what only Ken Griffey Jr. had done

March 20th, 2023

MIAMI -- Trea Turner’s best known for his blazing speed – and perhaps his artful popup slides when he races around the bases. Over the last two nights though, he’s turned into a hulking slugger, helping Team USA reach the World Baseball Classic final on Tuesday night (7 p.m. ET, FS1).

After hitting the game-winning comeback grand slam against Venezuela on Saturday night in the quarterfinals, the new Phillies shortstop added two more home runs to his WBC tally in Sunday's 14-2 semifinal romp over Cuba.

Turner's multi-homer game is the second in WBC history for Team USA, joining Ken Griffey Jr., who accomplished the feat in 2006 against South Africa. Perhaps Turner picked up a few tips from when Junior stepped into the batting cage during the team's workout on Friday. Griffey is Team USA's hitting coach.

After learning that fact in the postgame press conference, Turner got excited for Monday's BP session.

"I just can't wait to tell him," Turner said with a smile. "I don't know if he knows that. I didn't know that, but can't wait to have that conversation with him in the cage tomorrow. It's going to be fun for me."

Turner also set a WBC record by recording his second consecutive game with four RBIs.

"I don't know any of these things," Turner said. "I'm just trying to win with these guys. I think that's why we are here. We don't care who does what. We want to win. That stuff's pretty cool. I always say that those individual things are for my family. I know they're proud of me and that stuff's for them. But for me, I just like winning. I like playing baseball, competing and coming out on top."

Continuing to bat in the nine-hole, Turner hit a solo home run off Roenis Elías in the bottom of the second to give USA a 3-1 lead.

After tossing out his batting gloves -- apparently he's so red-hot that his very swing can tear the fabric apart -- he hit a three-run shot in the sixth inning to help the United States take a double-digit lead.

Take this, superstitious people:

"It had a big hole in it and I went up to bat and I was like, 'Man, I don't want to hit with this big hole. I know I'm going to foul a ball off and my whole palm is going to be showing,'" Turner said after the victory. "So, I almost threw them away before the at-bat."

Turner didn't really care one way or another about the gloves, too.

"I'm not a superstitious guy. I think in 2020 I had like a 13-, 14-game hitting streak and I went to go change my batting gloves and I thought, 'Man, I shouldn't change 'em.' Kevin Long -- my hitting coach at the time -- said, 'It's not the batting gloves. Nobody cares about the batting gloves.' So he broke that for me. I don't really pay attention to that stuff any more."

Turner and Team USA look to successfully defend their WBC title when they face the winner of Monday's Mexico-Japan semifinal in Tuesday night's championship game.