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World Baseball Classic 2017 results: United States defeats Japan, advances to first WBC final

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Team USA will face Puerto Rico in the championship on Wednesday

The team that was known more by some by who wasn’t on the team will now play for the title. The United States defeated Japan, 2-1, and advanced to the World Baseball Classic finals. They will face Puerto Rico on Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium as both nations seek their first ever World Baseball Classic title.

It didn’t have the same pizzazz as the previous semifinal, but Team USA was still able to do just enough to defeat Japan. The difference came in the top of the eighth when center fielder Adam Jones hit a soft ground ball to third, scoring Brandon Crawford from third when Japan’s third baseman Nobuhiro Matsuda was unable to field the ball cleanly, giving Team USA the lead for good.

It was Team USA’s first win over Japan in the World Baseball Classic. The two teams last played in the 2009 semifinal, when Japan beat the US 9-4 en route to their second WBC championship.

The forecast in Los Angeles called for rain for most of the night, so there were questions about whether the game might need to be called after it became official. Instead we got a tense pitcher’s dual in the drizzle. Tomoyuki Sugano of the Yomiuri Giants was able to keep USA hitters off balance for most of the game, striking out six batters on the night. But his defense let him down in the fourth. With one out Christian Yelich reached on a fielding error and advanced to second. Three batters later Andrew McCutchen ripped an RBI single to give the US a 1-0 lead.

That was the only blemish for Sugano, who went six innings, allowed just the one unearned run on three hits, one walk, and six strikeouts. Tanner Roark, making his second tournament appearance, had similar success, shutting out Japan through four innings and allowed just two hits, a walk, a hit by pitch, with one strikeout.

The Japanese got on the board in the sixth off the bat of Ryosuke Kikuchi. The infielder for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp drove a 1-2 pitch from Nate Jones over the right field wall just out of reach for McCutchen.

The score remained tied at 1-1 until the top of the eighth inning. With one out Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford singled to right followed by a double off the bat of Ian Kinsler to put runners at second and third. Then, the man who has taken on the moniker Captain America stepped to the plate—and hit a broken bat squibbler to third base as Crawford broke for home. Third baseman Matsuda couldn’t field the ball cleanly and had to settle for the out at first, but the run scored and it was 2-1, United States.

The team missed opportunities in the eighth and ninth innings to add an insurance run, but the combination of Mark Melancon, Pat Neshek, and Luke Gregerson were able to keep Japan’s bats at bay to secure the win.

We’ll have a full preview of the final tomorrow.

WBC Championship Game for Wednesday, March 22

Puerto Rico vs. United States

Location: Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California

Time: 7:00 p.m. MT

TV: MLB Network

Steaming: MLV.tv

Championship Round

WBC Championship Schedule

Date Team vs Team Time Venue
Date Team vs Team Time Venue
Semifinals
March 20 Netherlands (3) vs Puerto Rico (4) F/11 Dodger Stadium
March 21 United States (2) vs Japan (1) F Dodger Stadium
Finals
March 22 United States vs Puerto Rico 7:00 pm MT Dodger Stadium

Second Round Recap

WBC Pool E Schedule and Results

Date Team v Team Time Venue
Date Team v Team Time Venue
March 11 Cuba (1) vs Israel (4) Tokyo Dome
March 12 Japan (8) vs Netherlands (6) Tokyo Dome
March 13 Netherlands (12) vs Israel (2) Tokyo Dome
March 14 Cuba (5) vs Japan (8) Tokyo Dome
March 14 Netherlands (14) vs Cuba (1) Tokyo Dome
March 15 Israel (3) vs Japan (8) Tokyo Dome

Pool E Standings

Rank Team Wins Losses Runs Scored Runs Allowed
Rank Team Wins Losses Runs Scored Runs Allowed
1 Japan 3 0 24 14
2 Netherlands 2 1 32 11
3 Israel 1 2 9 21
4 Cuba 0 3 7 26

WBC Pool F Schedule and Results

Date Team v Team Time Venue
Date Team v Team Time Venue
March 14 Dominican Republic (1) vs Puerto Rico (3) Petco Park
March 15 Venezuela (2) vs United States (4) Petco Park
March 16 Venezuela (0) vs Dominican Republic (3) Petco Park
March 17 United States (5) vs Puerto Rico (6) Petco Park
March 18 Puerto Rico (13) vs Venezuela (2) Petco Park
March 18 United States (6) vs Dominican Republic (3) Petco Park
March 19 TBD TBD N/A Petco Park

Pool F Standings

Rank Team Wins Losses Runs Scored Runs Allowed
Rank Team Wins Losses Runs Scored Runs Allowed
1 Puerto Rico 3 0 22 8
2 United States 2 1 15 11
3 Dominican Republic 1 2 7 9
4 Venezuela 0 3 4 20