Japan moves on to the finals against South Korea in the World Baseball Classic after beating the United States 9 – 4.
On Sunday, the Japanese won by employing the style that has made them famous: fundamental baseball and strong starting pitching, this time from Red Sox right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka. The country also played flawless defense and pounded out 10 hits.
Japan manager Tatsunori Hara did his part, writing in seven left-handed hitters in the starting lineup against Team USA starter Roy Oswalt.
The strategy worked. Of the six hits Oswalt allowed, five of them came to left-handed hitters.
“I really respect American baseball, so the fact that we were able to play against the American team was wonderful,” Hara said. “The fact that we won today is something that even for the Japanese baseball world is something that will remain in history.”
Japan is now headed to the World Baseball Classic championship game to defend its title against Korea in the fifth meeting between the two countries in this tournament. The teams split two games in Pool A at the Tokyo Dome and split two games at PETCO Park in the second round.