Japan wins third title with 3-2 victory in World Baseball Classic final

Japan won the World Baseball Classic on Tuesday night, defeating Team USA 3-2 at loanDepot Park in Miami.

Japan’s Shohei Ohtani struck out his MLB teammate Mike Trout with a full-count slider to secure Japan’s third title. Ohtani was vote the tournament’s most valuable player after batting.435 and pitching to a 1.86 ERA.

Japan won all seven of its tournament games, with its juggernaut attack scoring 53 runs in the first six games. Nonetheless, Team USA pitchers held Japan to to five hits. Japan, on the other hand, was propell by solo home runs by Munetaka Murakami and Kazuma Okamoto.

Despite the fact that seven Japanese pitchers allowed nine US hits, Team USA went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

Trea Turner of Team USA blasted a solo home run off Shota Imanaga with one out in the top of the second. Turner tied the WBC record with his sixth home run of the tournament.

Murakami, a two-time Japanese MVP, started off the bottom half of the inning with a home run against Team USA starter Merrill Kelly, tying the game at 1-1.

Kelly was thrown out in the second inning with one out after Japan loaded the bases on singles by Okamoto and Sosuke Genda and a walk by No. 9 batter Yuhei Nakamura. Aaron Loup entered the game for Team USA and gave up an RBI ground out to Lars Nootbaar before getting Kensuke Kondoh to fly out to centre to close the inning with Japan leading 2-1.

Okamoto’s leadoff home run in the bottom of the fourth made it 3-1.

With Yu Darvish pitching for Japan in the eighth inning, Kyle Schwarber homered on the 10th pitch of his at-bat to pull Team USA within one run, 3-2.

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