Japan Plays USA in the World Baseball Classic


Ken Lund under the Creative Commons License

Members of the St. Louis Cardinals participated in The World Baseball Classic.

On March 21, 2023, Japan beat the USA 3-2 in the World Baseball Classic Championship. Many people expected the USA to win this game, but Japan would fight hard and come out on top in the end. After their win, they would capitalize on their 6-0 streak; which was the best record throughout the tournament. This win against the USA would be Japan’s third World Baseball Classic win in their history.

Merril Kelly would take the bump for USA and Shota Imanaga would start for Japan. Imanaga would pitch two innings; giving up four hits and one run. That one run would come off of Trea Turner’s solo homerun.

Turner had been performing like a beast after hitting his fourth home run in the past three games. Another notable accomplishment for Turner was that he broke the U.S. record for the most RBIs with 11 and tied the most home runs record.

Japan came right back in the second inning; after Munetaka Murakami started off the inning with a solo home run. Then Japan would load up the bases for Lars Nootbaar; where he grounded out to first, but Japan would still score a run to make the score 2-1 at the end of the second inning.

Japan scored again in the bottom of the fourth inning on Kazuma Okamoto’s solo homerun to give Japan a 3-1 lead going into the fifth inning. Mookie Betts and Nolan Arenado would both single to get the U.S. crowd going in the top of the fifth inning; but the pressure got to the USA team; stranding two runners and keeping Japan in the lead.

The score would remain the same until the eighth inning. Kyle Schwarber would foul six balls off; and on the 10th pitch, he crushed the ball into the upper deck of the Miami Marlins stadium to cut the lead to just one.

McNeil would force a four-pitch walk in the bottom of the ninth to start a USA rally. Unfortunately, Mookie Betts would ground into a double play to make it two outs. Finally, one of the best matchups of the tournament came between the two teammates of Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani. Ohtani would strike out Trout to secure Japan winning the World Baseball Classic.