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The World Baseball Classic championship duel between Team USA and Japan delivered on thrills as the stacked lineups faced off for one last night in Miami. Both teams brought the bats to win it all, but Japan’s pitching outshined the U.S. to best the 2017 champs.
Japan dethroned the United States, 3-2, behind a spectacular finish by international star Shohei Ohtani. The script for this game was exquisitely written by the baseball gods. All eyes were on Ohtani who faced the prospect of pitching against Angels teammate Mike Trout Tuesday night.
USA landed on the scoreboard first with a homer from Trae Turner in the second inning.
Japan followed up the jolt from Turner with a two-run inning, assuming a 2-1 lead heading into the fourth. Kazuma Okamoto was back to hitting homers after scoring deep left against Mexico on Monday. Okamoto drilled a homer left-center to extend Japan’s lead to 3-1.
Ohtani was in and out of the bullpen all night.
In the top of the eighth, Kyle Schwarber went yard with a deep ball to right — waking up the United States as Trea Turner followed with a base hit. But Padres ace Yu Darvish closed out the inning for Japan after a flyout from Cedric Mullins.
With a final inning left, Ohtani started warming up in the bullpen.
The United States faced a one-run deficit and the pressure turned up for Ohtani to survive the inning, knowing Angels slugger Mike Trout could potentially be the final at-bat of the night.
Jeff McNeil, Mookie Betts and Trout were due in the ninth for Ohtani.
McNeil made it to first, but Betts set up a double play for Japan — pitting Trout against Ohtani with two outs.
Two 100 mph strikes appeared to impress Trout. “Captain America” faced a loaded count and Ohtani delivered an impeccable slider to strike out the Angels slugger.
Japan won their third classic championship after having won in 2006 and 2009. And without much surprise, Ohtani received the WBC Championship’s Most Valuable Player award.
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One CommentLeave a Reply
… and that’s the danger of assembling a “Dream Team” … which this year’s WBC was for USA unlike previous USA teams in WBCs.
If you lose in a one-game winner-take-all format … you have no “but if …” to fall back on. NOT another “Day of Infamy”and Japan has not “awaken a sleeping giant” again. “……….. just “Winners tell jokes … and Losers say deal”