It’s not often that baseball is the biggest story on a night in March, but on Tuesday nothing was bigger than the World Baseball Classic.

On a rainy night in Los Angeles, Team USA beat Japan 2-1 to advance to the WBC finals for the first time ever. We’ll tell you how that happened and also fill you in on LeBron James’ message for LaVar Ball and the night’s big NBA fight.

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Team USA beats Japan in World Baseball Classic as Adam Jones drives in go-ahead run

LOS ANGELES, CA – MARCH 21: Christian Yelich #7 of team United States celebrates his run with teammate Buster Posey #28 for 1-0 lead in the fourth inning against team Japan during Game 2 of the Championship Round of the 2017 World Baseball Classic at Dodger Stadium on March 21, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

In the three previous World Baseball Classics that preceded the current one, the United States had finished no better than fourth place. For the country that invented baseball and still boasts a comfortable majority of players in the Major Leagues, the American team’s performance in this event has kind of embarrassing.

But on Tuesday night, Team USA redeemed its past struggles, beating Japan 2-1 to advance to the WBC final. No matter what happens Wednesday against Puerto Rico, the U.S. will finish the tournament with its best ever result.

The win over Japan wasn’t easy. After brilliant performances from starting pitchers Tanner Roark and Tomoyuki Sugano, the game was tied 1-1 in the top of the eighth inning. That was when Brandon Crawford singled, Ian Kinsler doubled and Adam Jones—who seems to be the hero every night for Team USA—grounded to third base to score the game-winning run.

If not for the rainy conditions at Dodgers Stadium, the go-ahead RBI might very well have been an out at the plate.

Mark Melancon and Pat Neshek combined for a scoreless eighth inning, then Luke Gregerson came on for the save in the ninth. Here’s how the game ended:

And so the U.S. improves to 5-2 in this tournament and moves on to what should be an awfully fun final. Puerto Rico—led by Francisco Lindor, Carlos Correa, Javy Baez and Yadier Molina—is undefeated in the WBC and will certainly not roll over for Team USA.

As for the American players, they’re pretty pumped.

The final will be played Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET at Dodger Stadium.

Quick hits

– Longtime Chicago Bulls general manager Jerry Krause, who hired Phil Jackson and drafted Scottie Pippen, died Tuesday at age 77.

– The Bulls and Toronto Raptors came to blows Tuesday, with Robin Lopez and Serge Ibaka throwing punches and earning ejections.

– The Clippers beat the Lakers 133-109. It was such a blowout that Chris Paul invited his son to sit on the bench with him.

– In a way, LaVar Ball is speaking truth to power. Could some good come out of his loud-mouthed bluster?

– LeBron James doesn’t think so. In fact, after LaVar said his kids would be better at basketball than LeBron’s kids, The King not-so-politely asked him to please shut up.

– Here’s why the NFL should adopt college-style overtime rules.

– On the heels of a World Baseball Classic run, Israel is looking to build its first regulation baseball field.

– Barry Bonds is back in the Bay, as an “ambassador” for the San Francisco Giants’ organization.

– This Sidney Crosby goal might just be the best of the year.

– Gary Bettman is talking as if NHL players won’t be allowed to participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics.

– Jim Harbaugh takes his peanut butter and jelly with potato chips on it. He also works out in khaki pants. Yeah, he’s weird.

– Speaking of peanut butter and jelly, it turns out every NBA team is totally obsessed with it.

– Rob Gronkowski was at WWE Smackdown, and he enjoyed himself about as much as you’d expect him to.

– A Broadway production company is making a movie based on the Monopoly board game, which should be interesting, if nothing else.

One last moment of procrastination

This Wheel of Fortune fail is about as bad as Wheel of Fortune fails get.

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports,, and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.