TOKYO (AP) — Shohei Ohtani doubled and singled for his second straight two-hit game, and Japan overcame a three-run deficit to beat South Korea 13-4 Friday night for its second straight win at the World Baseball Classic.
Ohtani was intentionally walked as Japan scored four runs in the third inning to take a 4-3 lead, doubled and scored in a two-run fifth and hit an RBI single in a five-run sixth. The two-way star is 4 for 7 with two doubles, three RBIs and four walks in Japan’s two games while allowing one hit over four scoreless innings on the mound.
Masataka Yoshida had three hits and five RBIs for Japan.
The Czech Republic defeated China 8-5 in the other Group B game as Martin Muzik hit a go-ahead, three-run homer following a double by his brother Matej in a four-run top of the ninth.
In Group A, Cuba beat Panama 13-4 as Yoán Moncada and Yadil Mujica drove in four runs each, and host Taiwan defeated Italy 11-7.
JAPAN 13, SOUTH KOREA 4
TOKYO (AP) — South Korea fell to 0-2 after taking a three-run lead in the third off Yu Darvish.
Masataka Yoshida had three of Japan’s 13 hits and five RBIs.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida threw out the ceremonial first pitch, a sign of improving relations between the Asian neighbors. Kishida was a high school player and is a fan of the Central League’s Hiroshima Toyo Carp. The Kishida bounced his ceremonial pitch, which was scooped up by Japan manager Hideki Kuriyana.
Euiji Yang hit a two-run homer and Jung Hoo Lee had an RBI single as South Korea jumped ahead.
Japan rallied in the bottom half on Lars Nootbaar’s run-scoring single and Kensuke Kondoh’s RBI double, which chased loser Kwang Hyun Kim. Ohtani was intentionally walked by Tae-in Won and, one out later, Yoshida’s two-run single put Japan ahead for good at 4-3.
Kensuke Kondoh homered off Won leading off the fifth and Yoshida’s sacrifice fly made it 6-3. Yoshida added an RBI single in the sixth and a bases-loaded walk in the seventh.
Darvish got the win, allowing three runs — two earned — and three hits in three innings. He was playing for Japan for the first time since 2009.
“This might be the last opportunity for me to pitch in my home country,” he said through a translator.
Kunwoo Park had a solo homer for South Korea off Shota Imanaga in the sixth.
South Korea dropped to 0-2 for the second straight WBC following losses to Israel and the Netherlands in 2017.
CUBA 13, PANAMA 4
TAICHUN, Taiwan (AP) — Yadir Drake had four hits, and Moncada and Roel Santos three each as Cuba (1-2) rebounded from a 6-3, 10-inning loss to Italy.
Panama (1-2) overcame a 2-0 deficit with a four-run second, when Rubén Tejada hit a two-run homer and Allen Córdoba had a two-run single.
Drake had an RBI single in a four-run sixth, Moncada followed with a go-ahead, two-run single that chased loser Matt Hardy and Luis Robert had a run-scoring single for a 6-4 lead.
Moncada added a two-run single in a five-run seventh and walked with the bases loaded in a two-run eighth.
Winner Miguel Romero allowed two hits in three scoreless innings wth four strikeouts and no walks.
TAIWAN 11, ITALY 7
TAICHUNG, Taiwan (AP) — Kuo-Chen Fan broke a 7-7 tie with a run-scoring infield single in the seventh off Joey Marciano and Kungkuan Giljegiljaw hit a three-run homer in the eighth as host Taiwan overcame a three-run deficit and improved to 1-1.
Yu Chang hit a tying, two-run homer in the sixth off loser Stephen Woods Jr..
Winner Yen-Ching Lu pitched two hitless innings of shutout ball, working around three walks
Italy built a 7-4 lead as Nicky Lopez had two hits and three RBIs and Brett Sullivan had three hits.
The Netherlands leads the group at 2-0 and Italy fell to 1-1.
“It was in a very difficult environment to play, very unique,” Italy manager Mike Piazza said. “”I still don’t know what to think of it. I thought it was a little bit of a shock.
CZECH REPUBLIC 8, CHINA 5
TOKYO (AP) — Martin Zervenka’s one-out walk off loser Hai-Cheng Gong in the ninth started the go-ahead rally as the Czechs overcame a 5-4 deficit to win their WBC debut.
After Martin Muzik’s homer put the Czechs ahead, Filip Smola added a run-scoring single for the Czechs, who won their opener.
Winner Marek Minarik closed with 2 2/3 scoreless innings after Jin Yang’s RBI single off Michal Kovala capped a four-run seventh for China (0-2).
The all-amateur Czech team has had fun in Japan. A few of the players even went surfing in the run-up to the tournament during games in Miyazaki in southwestern Japan.
“We’re enjoying the Japanese stay,” outfielder Marek Chlup said. “At Miyazaki, some players swam.”
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