By defeated the Venezuela, Dominican Republic become the first team in Final Four of World Baseball Classic, and after winning against Mexico, Japan still have hope to advance.
Japan 6, Mexico 1
JAPAN - 000 410 001 -- 6 MEXICO - 000 000 010 -- 1
It probably was more important than ever for Japan to get off to a good start in its World Baseball Classic game against Mexico. An early toe-stubbing could have further demoralized a team that already spent too many hours down in the dumps following a disputed loss to Team USA on Sunday. Well, a splendid effort by right-handed starter Daisuke Matsuzaka, and a four-run fourth inning, provided just the tonic Japan needed to climb back into Classic semifinals picture as it notched a 6-1 victory before 16,591 at Angel Stadium.
Mexico’s hopes of advancing to the semifinals of the inaugural World Baseball Classic were left hanging by the thinnest of threads at Angel Stadium with a loss to Japan. Team Mexico, 0-2 in pool play here, needs Korea (2-0) to beat Japan (1-1) on Wednesday. Then comes the hard part. Mexico would have to defeat the United States, 1-0, in 14 innings on Thursday to advance via the tiebreaker based on total runs allowed divided by innings played on defense.
VENEZUELA - 000 001 000 -- 1 DOMINICAN REP - 100 000 10x -- 2
Kelvim Escobar peered in at Albert Pujols in the bottom of the seventh inning at Hiram Bithorn Stadium, and knew that Venezuela’s fate in this World Baseball Classic was likely riding on this one exchange with perhaps the finest right-handed hitter in the world. The bases were loaded, and there were two outs in a 1-1 game.
As he unleashed a fastball on the outer half of the plate, Escobar was prepared for just about anything that came his way. Except, that is, for the ball slipping off the glove of catcher Ramon Hernandez for a costly passed ball that snapped the tie, and ultimately led to the most crushing of defeats to the Dominican Republic.
In any language, the noisy celebration and party for La Republicana Dominicana is on, and its headed to Southern California. In front of a boisterous crowd of headband-wearing, flag-waving and country-loving baseball aficionados from all over the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic edged Venezuela, 2-1, to become the first team to qualify for the World Baseball Classic semifinals in San Diego.