Premier12, First Round, Pool B: Japan – Mexico 6-5
Mexico 010 101 101 5 13 1 Japan 022 010 001 6 12 0
Japan improved to 2-0 at the Premier 12 thanks to a spectacular 6-5 walk-off win over Mexico on Wednesday evening at Tienmu Stadium in Taipei City. It was the first game for Samurai Japan since their opening day victory against South Korea on Sunday. Mexico dropped to 1-1 in the first round in Pool B.
After Mexico had tied the game in the top of the ninth through a RBI single by Tim Torres erasing deficit of 1-4 and 2-5 in the process, Japan walked off with the win in the bottom half of the frame. Tetsuto Yamada doubled to lead off the inning. Takeya Nakamura followed with a strikeout. Then Mexico decided to intentionally walk Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, who was 3-for-4 in the game. This brought Sho Nakata to the plate and he came through with the game-winning RBI single.
Nakata had two hits prior to stepping to the plate in the ninth. He had given Japan an early 2-1 lead with his two-run home run in the second and later added a sac fly and a RBI single. He finished with five RBI in the game. Robert Lopez hit a solo home run for Mexico and scored twice. They scored single runs in the sixth, seventh and ninth to tie the game. But it was not enough to force extra innings.
Hirokazu Sawamura ended up with the win and a blown save, pitching the top of the ninth. Starter Kenta Maeda had conceded five hits, two runs and a walk in five innings, striking out seven. Mexico’s starter Enrique Garcia issued five hits, four runs and a base on balls in 2 1/3 innings for a no-decision. Alexander Caldera took the loss.
Mexico will meet Team USA at Tienmu Stadium on Thursday evening, while Japan clashes with the Dominican Republic at Taoyuan Stadium.