Cuba 020 201 000 5 10 1 Japan 101 021 03X 8 9 0
Samurai Japan celebrated their fifth win in as many games at the 2017 World Baseball Classic on Tuesday evening at the Tokyo Dome. In a round-two matchup against Cuba they prevailed 8-5 after scoring three runs in the bottom of the eighth. They improved to 2-0 in the second round, while Cuba dropped to 0-2. Cuba meets the Netherlands on Wednesday, while Japan faces Israel. The top two of the pool advance to the semi-finals in Los Angeles next week.
In the first seven innings it was a back and forth affair between two of the best teams in Baseball. Tetsuto Yamada and Yurisbel Gracial exchanged home runs in the first two frames to give Cuba a 2-1 lead. Yoshitomo Tsutsugoh tied the game with a RBI single in the third, only to see Cuba regaining the advantage with a two-run single by Victor Mesa in the fourth.
But also Japan was able to answer the call quickly, erasing the deficit on RBIs by Norichika Aoki and Tsutsugoh in the fifth. RBI singles by Yosvani Alarcon and Seiji Kobayashi brought the score to 5-5 in the sixth. However while Samurai Japan always was able to tie the game after Cuba scored first, the record world champion was not able to respond to Japan’s first lead in the contest.
In the bottom of the eighth Japan broke the tie with a sac fly by Seiichi Uchikawa. Yamada followed shortly after with a two-run home run to make it an 8-5 ballgame. Submariner Kazuhhisa Makita entered the game in the ninth and sealed Nippon’s win with a pair of strikeouts and a groundout.