Round 2 was in full swing on Tuesday. Pool 1 finished up in Japan with the host team winning the pool and taking the #1 seed into the semifinals. Pool 2 kicked off with a pair of games setting up a showdown between two of the most powerful teams in the Classic, the Dominican Republic and USA.
Pool 1 – Tokyo, Japan
Netherlands 6, Japan 10
Despite taking the lead on the second pitch of the game, the Netherlands were fighting an uphill battle all night long.
The lead was short lived though. In the bottom of the second inning, Japan broke through with eight runs of their own. It all started on Shinnosuke Abe’s first home run of the game, and inning.
After a nice 1-2-3 inning in the first, Dutch starter David Bergman was locked in a nine-pitch battle with Abe. Abe won. He took Bergman’s ninth offering out over the right field wall in what would be a historic inning.
Bergman would only get through 1.2 innings allowing seven runs on four hits. He was relieved by Jonatan Isenia in the second inning. The first batter he would face, Shinnosuke Abe.
Abe was locked in and set a WBC record that might not be broken or tied for a long time by sending the fourth pitch he saw from Isenia over the right field wall for a three-run home run, his second of the inning. That capped off an eight-run second inning for Japan.
The Dutch battled back late in the game to pull to within 8-6, but it was too little too late. Japan would tack on two more runs in the eighth and win 10-6.
Along with Abe’s record night, Hisayoshi Chono had a big night driving in five runs including three on a bases clearing double in the eight-run second.
Otonari picked up the win tossing three innings allowing just the one hit to Simmons while striking out six. Bergman took the loss.
The win gives Japan the Pool 1 victory heading into the semifinals. They will be seeded #1 from Pool 1 and will face the #2 seed from Pool 2 in San Francisco.
Pool 2 – Miami, Florida
Italy 4, Dominican Republic 5
Italy looked to continue its run through the World Baseball Classic, and it looked like that run would continue after the first inning.
Edinson Volquez couldn’t find the strike zone early in the game walking the first three batters. Italy cleanup hitter Alex Liddi got the scoring started with a sacrifice fly to right field scoring Nick Punto. The big blow came next.
Chris Colabello worked to get ahead in the count, and then hit a 2-1 fastball from Volquez over the right center field wall for a three-run home run. Italy led after a half inning 4-0.
Volquez settled down and pitched 3.1 more innings allowing just two more hits and no more runs. After the first inning Italy was almost completely shut down. Over the last 4.2 innings, the Dominican Republic bullpen allowed just one hit.
The Dominican finally got on the board in the bottom of the third inning. Jose Reyes led off the innings with a solo home run to cut the Italy lead to 4-1. Three innings later they got another run. This time it was on a Robinson Cano home run to right center field.
Italy starter Tiago Da Silva pitched well. He threw 5.1 innings allowing just two runs on five hits. Unfortunately for Italy, the bullpen couldn’t hold the lead.
Pat Venditte came on in relief in the bottom of the sixth with two outs and the bases loaded. He got Miguel Tejada to line out to right field getting out of the inning. Venditte went back out to start the bottom of the seventh. He got the first batter to pop out, but then he gave up three straight singles and was lifted.
Luca Panerati came on in relief and immediately walked in a run. That was all for Panerati.
Pool 2 – Miami, Florida
Puerto Rico 1, USA 7
Gio Gonzalez pitched great tossing five shutout innings allowing just three hits to pick up the win. He struck out five along the way. He never allowed more than one runner to reach base in an inning and kept Puerto Rico off balance all night.
As well as Gonzalez pitched though, the hero was once again David Wright. Wright drove in five runs in the game doubling his total for the 2013 WBC to 10. The five tied the high for this year’s Classic with Jose Abreu of Cuba and Hisayoshi Chono who reached the mark earlier in the day.
Wright, who has been dubbed ‘Captain America’ after his earlier heroics against Italy, knocked in a run with a ground out, one with a single, and in the eighth innings three with a bases loaded double.
The game was closer than the final score indicates. The Puerto Rico pitching staff did a good job limiting the damage until late in the game. Mario Santiago started and pitched 4.1 innings allowing three runs on five hits. He took the loss, but didn’t pitch too bad against the strong US lineup.
The two losers, Italy and Puerto Rico, will face off with one another in an elimination game on Wednesday.
The win sets up a showdown that many have been looking forward to between the USA and Dominican Republic on Thursday at 7pm EST.
Who do you think wins the big game between the USA and Dominican?