WBC: Japan gets second win against China
Team Samurai uses strong pitching and big rally in 5th to down China 5-2

Fukuoka. Defending World Baseball Classic title holder Japan won its second game in the tournament on Sunday. At the Yahoo! Dome in Fukuoka Team Samurai defeated China 5-2. Japan had beaten Brazil on Saturday to open the Classic. It was the first game for China.

In difference to their opener one day earlier Japan didn’t have much trouble to cruise to an easy victory. Sho Nakata got them on the board in the second inning, driving in Yoshio Itoi with a single to left.

In the fifth Japan extended the gap to 5-0 thanks to a RBI single by Seiichi Uchikawa and Itoi’s bases clearing double, which capped a four-run rally.

China managed just two base runners through the first eight innings. In the ninth they finally got on the scoreboard thanks to a wild pitch and a RBI groundout of Ray Chang. But in the end it was too little too late.

Kenta Maeda (W, 1-0) was the real hero for Japan. The starting pitcher allowed only one hit and a walk in five scoreless innings, while striking out six. 37 of his 56 pitches were strikes. Testuya Utsumi, Hideaki Wakui and Hirokazu Sawamura continued to stifle Chinese batting. Only Tetsuya Yamaguchi struggled in the ninth before striking out the side to seal the win.

Xia Luo (L, 0-1) got charged with the loss as China’s starting pitcher. He issued three hits, a run and two base on balls in 3 2/3 innings.

Japan is going to rest on Monday and Tuesday before closing out the round robin in Pool A against Cuba on Wednesday. China will take on the record world champion in the lone game in Fukuoka on Monday. The first top-ranked teams from each first-round pool will advance to the second round of the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

Results Pool A:

Saturday, March 2:
Brazil 3 - Japan 5
Sunday, March 3:
Brazil 2 - Cuba 5
Japan 5 - China 2

Photo: © World Baseball Classic, Inc.

(From IBAF Website)