World Baseball Classic Game Summary - Japan vs. Korea|
(Monday, March 23rd)
Final Score: Japan 5, Korea 3 (10 innings)
Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Already one of the best hitters in Major
League Baseball, Ichiro Suzuki returned to his roots as a hero again as Japan
repeated as World Baseball Classic champions.
Suzuki capped a four-hit night by lining a two-run single to center field in
the 10th inning, and Japan successfully defended its crown from three years
ago with a 5-3 win over Korea in the title game at Dodger Stadium.
Seiichi Uchikawa had three hits and scored twice, including the go-ahead run
in the 10th, one inning after Korea tied the game on a single by Bum Ho Lee,
but the reigning Olympic gold medal winners faltered in the next frame.
Suzuki, who moved to the United States in 2001 after playing nine years for
the Orix Blue Wave in Japan's Pacific League and became an eight-time All-Star
with the Seattle Mariners, delivered at the most crucial moment to cap an
eight-pitch at-bat against Chang Yong Lim.
Before that, Uchikawa singled to right field, moved to second on a sacrifice
bunt, and Akinori Iwamura singled to put runners at the corners. Pinch-hitter
Munenori Kawasaki popped out, but Korea allowed Iwamura to take second. Suzuki
then lined a clean hit to center field. Japan loaded the bases later in the
inning, but Kenji Johjima, Suzuki's Seattle teammate, struck out.
Yu Darvish, who pitched two innings for the win, walked Min-ho Kang to start
the bottom of the 10th. Jeong Choi struck out and Yong-Kyu Lee flied out to
center field. Darvish then fanned Keun-Woo Jeong to send the Japanese into
Hisashi Iwakuma threw the first 7 2/3 innings for Japan, giving up four hits
and two runs, while logging six strikeouts. Jungkeun Bong tossed the first
four-plus frames for Korea, surrendering six hits and an unearned run. Lim
suffered the loss.
Japan outhit Korea, 15-5, but left 14 men on base, yet still managed to win
before a WBC-record crowd of 54,846 fans.
Daisuke Matsuzaka won the MVP for a second straight time. The Red Sox hurler
went 3-0 with a 2.45 ERA in three starts during the 2009 WBC. In 14 2/3
innings, he allowed four runs on 14 hits with five walks and 13 strikeouts
Shin-Soo Choo homered for Korea.
Japan, which defeated Cuba to claim the crown at the inaugural Classic in
2006, knocked the USA out in the semifinals Sunday with a 9-4 win and one
night later needed to go extra innings.
Michihiro Ogasawara singled to right field in the top of the third inning to
give Japan a 1-0 lead, but Japan wasted a bases-loaded chance later in the
Choo homered to center field leading off the bottom of the fifth, but Japan
went ahead in the seventh. Yasuyuki Kataoka led off with a single to left
field and stole second. Suzuki put down a perfect soft bunt down the third
base line for a hit and Hiroyuki Nakajima singled on a line drive to left
field for the 2-1 lead. Korea, though, thwarted Japan's chance at more in the
inning as Aoki flied out and Johjima grounded into a double play.
Japan added a run in the eighth. Uchikawa singled to start the frame. Korea
then went to the bullpen and Hyunjin Ryu, but he gave up a ground-rule double
to Astunori Inaba. Iwamura followed with a sacrifice fly to left.
Korea pulled within 3-2 in the bottom of the eighth. Bum Ho Lee doubled, went
to third on a groundout and scored on pinch-hitter Dae Ho Lee's sacrifice
fly to center field.
Darvish came on to pitch the bottom of the ninth and immediately fanned the
first batter, but then walked Hyun-Soo Kim. Jong Wook Lee came on as a pinch-
runner. Tae Kyun Kim walked and was replaced on the bases by Taek-Keun
Lee. Choo then fished for a low ball and struck out, but Bum Ho Lee singled to
left field for the tie.
Suzuki is now a combined 6-10 with two double, three RBI and three runs scored
in two World Baseball Classic championship games...Bong went 2-0 with a 0.51
ERA over four games, three starts, in this WBC...Japan collected 92 hits
throughout the 2009 Classic, 74 of which were singles...In nine games during
the 2009 World Baseball Classic, Japan more than tripled the offensive output
of its opposition, outscoring opponents 50-16.
03/24 02:22:28 ET