The Denver Post
Ohtani long HR powers Japan; Italy advances
TOKYO >> Shohei Ohtani hit a three-run homer that landed just below his image on a video advertising board, sending Japan to a 7-1 victory over Australia in the World Baseball Classic on Sunday night.
Ohtani also walked twice and finished with four RBIS. His first- inning drive traveled an estimated 448 feet.
Japan won Group B with a 4- 0 record and will play a quarterfinal Thursday against Italy, which advanced along with Cuba from Group A on tiebreakers. Matt Harvey got the win as Italy defeated the Netherlands 7-1, causing all five teams to finish 2-2.
South Korea beat the Czech Republic 7-3 in the day’s other Group B game, and Cuba defeated Taiwan 7-1 in Group A.
Ohtani turned on a hanging curveball from Will Sherriff, who didn’t even watch the flight of the ball into the Tokyo Dome’s right- field seats, bending and putting hands on his knees. It was the first home run of the tournament for Ohtani, who is 6 for 12 with eight RBIS and seven walks.
Winner Yoshinobu Yamamoto struck out eight in four scoreless innings, allowing one hit and no walks. He threw 42 of 60 pitches for strikes, averaging 95.2 mph with his fastball and topping out at 96.9 mph. The 24-year- old right-hander was the Pacific League’s MVP for the Orix Buffaloes in 2021 and 2022, and pitched a no-hitter last June 22 against the Saitama Seibu Lions.
Robbie Perkins was the only Australia batter to reach against Yamamato, on a one- out single in the third. Alex Hall homered in the ninth off Hiroto Takahashi, who finished a five-hitter.
Australia (2-1) is second in Group B, ahead of the Czechs and South Korea ( both 1-2) and eliminated China (0- 3). Australia would advance with a win over the Czechs on Monday, when South Korea plays China.
CANADA 18, GREAT BRITAIN
8, 7 INNINGS>> Tyler O’neill had four hits and four RBIS, Freddie Freeman added two hits and Canada beat Great Britain 18-8 in Phoenix.
The game lasted just seven innings because the WBC has a mercy rule during pool play. If one team is leading by 10 or more runs after an inning following the seventh, the game is over.
Canada scored in every inning, including five runs in the first, four in the third and six more in the fourth.
Great Britain took a 3- 0 lead in the top of the first, but had a tough afternoon on the pitcher’s mound, giving up 17 hits and 16 walks. Harry Ford had one of Britain’s highlights with a three-run homer.
Akeel Morris took the loss, giving up five runs in just 2/3 of an inning. Phillippe Aumont got the win.
ISRAEL 3, NICARAGUA 1>> Garrett Stubbs hit a tworun double in a three-run eighth inning, helping Israel rally for the win in its WBC opener in Miami.
Stubbs had two of Israel’s seven hits. His basesloaded double off New York Yankees reliever Jonathan Loáisiga drove in Spencer Horwitz and Noah Mendlinger with two out in the eighth. Horwitz tied it earlier in the inning with an RBI single.
Winner Richard Bleier had two strikeouts in one relief inning.
Nicaragua took a 1- 0 lead in the fifth when Steven Leyton’s double scored Sandy Bermudez. But it dropped to 0-2 in WBC pool play.
ITALY 7, NETHERLANDS 1>> Harvey pitched four innings of one-run ball for Italy, and Milwaukee Brewers prospect Sal Frelick had three hits and two RBIS in Taichung, Taiwan.
Italian players had to wait a few minutes after the final out to find out they advanced with Cuba while the Netherlands, Taiwan and Panama were eliminated. The group was decided by runs allowed divided by outs, and Cuba (15/108, .139) finished first, followed by Italy (17/108, .157), Netherlands (19/102, .186), Panama (21/ 105, .200) and Taiwan (31/105, .295).
Chadwick Tromp homered in the third for the Netherlands, but Italy went ahead to stay with six runs in the fourth.
SOUTH KOREA 7, CZECH REPUBLIC 3>> Ha-seong Kim of the San Diego Padres hit two solo homers for South Korea in Tokyo.
Se Woong Park struck out eight in 4 2/3 innings for South Korea, which improved to 1-2 in Group B and will play winless China in its final group game. The Czechs are also 1-2.
CUBA 7, TAIWAN 1 >> Yoán Moncada and Erisbel Arruebarrena homered, leading Cuba to the win in Taichung, Taiwan.
Cuba broke out to a 4- 0 lead in the first inning. Alfredo Despaigne drove in Moncada and Luis Robert with a double, and Arruebarrena added a two-run shot. Moncada and Robert play for the Chicago White Sox.