The Washington Post

Ohtani hits long homer as Japan wins Group B



Shohei Ohtani hit a three-run homer that landed just below his image on a video advertisin­g board, sending Japan to a 7-1 World Baseball Classic victory over Australia on Sunday night in Tokyo.

Ohtani also walked twice and finished with four RBI. His firstinnin­g 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 for his first home run of the tournament. Ohtani is 6 for 12 with eight RBI 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.

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 Czech Republic and South Korea (both 1-2) and eliminated China (0-3). Australia would advance with a win over the Czech Republic on Monday, when South Korea plays China.

In Taichung, Taiwan, Harvey pitched four innings of one-run ball for Italy in a 7-1 win over the Netherland­s, and Milwaukee Brewers prospect Sal Frelick had three hits and two RBI.

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 inning for the Netherland­s, but Italy went ahead to stay with six runs in the fourth.

The Italians are managed by Hall of Famer Mike Piazza.

Ha-seong Kim of the San Diego Padres hit two solo homers in South Korea’s 7-3 win over the Czech Republic in Tokyo.

Se Woong Park struck out eight in 42/ innings for South Korea 3 (1-2), which will play winless China in its final Group B game. The Czechs are also 1-2.

St. Louis Cardinals infielder Tommy Edman hit a two-run single for South Korea. Kim’s homer in the sixth made it 6-0.

Matej Mensik put the Czech Republic on the board with a two-run double in the seventh. Kim hit his second homer of the game in the bottom half.

Yoán Moncada and Erisbel Arruebarre­na homered to spark Cuba to a 7-1 win over Taiwan in Taichung.

Cuba took a 4-0 lead in the first inning, highlighte­d by Arruebarre­na’s two-run homer.

In Miami, Salvador Pérez homered, doubled twice, singled and had five RBI as Venezuela outscored Puerto Rico, 9-6, in Pool D.

Venezuela had a four-run first inning against José Berrios, highlighte­d by Anthony Santander’s second homer of the tournament.

Pérez made it 7-0 with a threerun shot in the second. Eddie Rosario homered for Puerto Rico.

Earlier in Miami, Garrett Stubbs hit a two-run double in a three-run eighth inning, helping Israel rally for a 3-1 win over Nicaragua in its WBC opener.

In Phoenix, Tyler O’neill had four hits and four RBI, Freddie Freeman added two hits, and Canada coasted to an 18-8 win over Great Britain.

Canada scored in every inning of the game, which 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.

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