Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ichiro is the big hero in the tenth inning as Japan retains the World Baseball Classic crown

Ichiro hits a two-run single in the top of the 10th inning Monday. (Photo: Matt Sayles/AP)

What a game!

The Japanese baseball team, behind the excellent pitching of Hisashi Iwakuma, defeated Korea 5-3. He retired the first eleven batters that he faced and collected six K's and only two BB's. He allowed four hits, one of them a homer by Shin Soo Choo, which tied the game 1-1 in the bottom of the fifth.

Japan, top of the seventh: Nakajima singles. Kataoka, who had previously singled and stolen second, scores. Japan 2, Korea 1.

Japan, top of the eighth: Sac fly with man on third. Japan 3, Korea 1.

Korea, bottom of the eight: double to center field. Runner advances to third. Sac fly, Korea scores another run. Iwakuma gives a BB. He is replaced by Sugiushi. Iwakuma pitched seven and two third excellent innings. Japan 3, Korea 2.

Japan, top of the ninth: Ichiro, stand up double. Left stranded, unable to score.

Korea's last chance, bottom of the ninth: Yu Darvish comes on relief for Japan. He strikes out the first batter. Base on balls to the next batter. Another base on balls to the next batter. Darvish is in big trouble. Darvish strikes out dangerous S S Choo. Two outs. Hit by B H Lee. Game tied 3-3. Stike out.

The game goes into extra innings.

Ichiro becomes the hero! Two RBI's! He connects a double with men on second and third. Japan 5, Korea 3.

The Samurai team collected 15 hits and committed no errors. Korea only had five hits. The Rising Sun team was perfection personified and had plenty of excellent defense. They don't get emotional and they don't argue among themselves. They go out and they do the job they are supposed to do.

Cuba has a lot to learn from them.

Box score

New York Times Report

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