Japan defeated the United States 2-3 on Tuesday, conquered the V World Baseball Classic undefeated and became the three-time champion in the final held at LoanDepot Park in Miami.
10 years ago, the Dominican Republic won the Classic undefeated and this Tuesdays the Japanese team matched the feat by finishing this edition with a 7-0 mark.
The Japanese were proclaimed champions in the first two editions of the World Classic in 2006 and 2009. The United States did so in the last, held in 2017. Japan confirmed that they had a great team by finishing as the tournament leader in runs and, furthermore, among the eight teams that advanced to the quarterfinals conceded the fewest goals.
In the sudden death round, the United States bats connected 38 hits, with eight home runs and a total of twelve extra-base hits, and produced 25 runs, but today despite connecting nine hits, they were not effective. The final match of the V World Classic began 25 minutes late due to the closing events.
Left-hander Shota Imanaga started on the mound for Japan, while Merrill Kelly, of the Major League Baseball D-backs, took the mound for Team USA. Trea Turner, the American figure in this Classic, began to excite his team when in the second inning he hit a home run, his fifth homer in the tournament, to make it 1-0 against Imanaga.
Team USA’s offense kicked in and JT Realmuto and Tim Anderson singled off Imanaga who struggled but then regained control of the game.
And Japan also showed its cards. Munetaka Murakami knocked it out of the park against Kelly and made it 1-1 in the second inning with a fly ball to right-center. The one who suffered now on the mound was Kelly when Kazuma Okamoto and Sosuke Genda hit him and occupied the first two bases.
In addition, he walked Yuhei Nakamura. With the bases loaded, manager MarK DeRosa changed pitchers: Aaron Loup entered for a Kelly who left the ranch burning in two innings. Lars Nootbaar grounded out to Loup, but Okamoto scored second and Japan took over. Manager Hideki Kuriyama emulated DeRosa and started the third with a new pitcher and sent Shosei Togo to the mound for Imanaga. Togo struck out Trout, put out Paul Goldschmidt but lost Nolan Arenado and Kyle Schwarber to walks.
It was Turner’s turn but Togo complied by striking him out. In the fourth episode, Japan’s bats returned to the charge. Kazuma Okamoto hit a solo home run off Kyle Freeland to make it 1-3. But the United States was not going to give up so easily. In the eighth inning Schwarber, who had been silenced, hit a ‘Bambinazo’ that made it 2-3 and restored faith to DeRosa’s troops.
The final out, however, came against the relief of star Shohei Ohtani, who went 1-for-3 with a walk in the game, and the tying run eluded Team USA as they failed to lift the trophy. for the second time in a row. While Japan, a gold medalist in the last Olympic Games, began the celebration on the diamond of the third title that they achieved undefeated and confirmed that their empire in the World Classic is stinging and extending by winning three of the five editions of the tournament.
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