TOKYO – Kyle Schwarber launched a three-run homer, Nolan Arenado had three hits and two RBIs, and the United States overcame a slow start to beat Britain 6-2 on Saturday night in the World Baseball Classic opener for both teams.
Trayce Thompson put Britain up 1-0 in the first inning with a homer off Adam Wainwright that just cleared the left-center wall. Thompson — who plays for the Los Angeles Dodgers — is one of the few players on Britain’s roster with big league experience.
Thompson’s drive briefly put a damper on the mood for the crowd of 39,650 at Chase Field, but the Americans weren’t down long.
The U.S. grabbed a 2-1 lead in the third and then broke the game open in the fourth on Schwarber’s shot that landed in the stands near the swimming pool that sits behind the right-center fence at Chase Field.
In Tokyo, Shohei Ohtani had another RBI double, 21-year-old right-hander Roki Sasaki reached 100 mph 21 times in 66 pitches and Japan beat the Czech Republic 10-2 on Saturday night to clinch a quarterfinal berth.
Shugo Maki hit his second home run of the tournament and new Boston Red Sox outfielder Masataka Yoshida had three RBIs, including a go-ahead, two-run double in the third inning off loser Ondrej Satoria as the Samurai Warriors overcame a 1-0 deficit.
Ohtani went 1 for 3 with a walk before a crowd of 41,637 in the Tokyo Dome, leaving for a pinch hitter in the eighth inning. He is 5 for 10 with three doubles, four RBIs and five walks for Japan (3-0), which has one more group game and will host a quarterfinal on Wednesday or Thursday. He also has pitched four scoreless innings.
Sasaki struck out eight in 3 2/3 innings and got the win. He allowed an unearned run, two hits and two walks.
Sasaki threw the 16th perfect game in Japanese major league history in April, then pitched eight perfect innings in his next start before being pulled after 102 pitches. He went 9-2 with a 2.02 ERA for the Pacific League’s Chiba Lotte Marines last year, striking out 173 in 129 1/3 innings.
In the opener, Rixon Wingrove had four RBIs as Australia (2-0) won in a 12-2 rout of China (0-3) in a game shortened to seven innings by the 10-run mercy rule.
In Group B at Taichung, Boston’s Yu Chang hit a tiebreaking, second-inning grand slam that lifted host Taiwan to a 9-5 win over the Netherlands (2-1), and Panama (2-2) won 2-0 over Italy (1-2).
In the first game of Group C in Phoenix, Colombia beat Mexico 5-4 in 10 innings when Jorge Alfaro scored on an error by shortstop Luis Urias.
Also, Puerto Rico beat Nicaragua 9-1 and Venezuela topped the Dominican Republic 5-1 in Miami.
UNITED STATES 6, BRITAIN 2
PHOENIX (AP) — Wainwright gave up one run and five hits over four innings for the win. Kyle Freeland allowed one run in three innings of relief, and David Bednar struck out the side in the ninth.
Former big league pitcher Vance Worley gave up two unearned runs over 2 2/3 innings for Britain. Thompson, who tied his career high with 13 homers last season for the Dodgers, finished with two hits.
VENEZUELA 5, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 1
MIAMI (AP) — Luis Garcia struck out seven in three hitless innings and Venezuela tagged NL Cy Young Award winner Sandy Alcantara to beat the Dominican Republic.
The game drew an electric crowd of 35,890.
Anthony Santander homered off Alcantara in the second. The Miami Marlins ace allowed three runs on five hits and three walks in 3 2-3 innings for a team many consider the WBC favorite.
David Peralta hit a two-run single in the fourth and added an RBI double in the sixth to make it 4-1. Santander tripled and scored on a single by Eugenio Suarez in the eighth.
The Dominican Republic threatened in the eighth when Wander Franco singled and World Series MVP Jeremy Peña walked. But Santander made a diving catch on Jeimer Candelario’s flyball to right field and Francisco Mejia struck out.
Juan Soto hit an RBI double in the first to give the Dominican Republic a 1-0 lead.
Jose Altuve, Luis Arraez, Salvador Perez and Andres Gimenez all had hits for Venezuela.
José Ruiz got two outs for the win. Garcia followed with a dominant performance.
COLOMBIA 5, MEXICO 4, 10 INNINGS
PHOENIX (AP) — The back-and-forth game saw Mexico take a 1-0 lead in the fourth on an RBI single by Isaac Paredes.
Colombia tied the game in the top of the fifth and then took a 3-1 lead on a two-run homer by Reynaldo Rodriguez. Mexico’s Randy Arozarena responded with his own two-run homer in the bottom of the fifth to tie the game at 3-all.
The game was tied at 4 going into extra innings. In the 10th, Gustavo Campero hit a grounder that Urias couldn’t handle, which allowed Alfaro to score. Guillermo Zuñiga retired Mexico in order in the bottom of the 10th to seal the win. Jesus Cruz took the loss.
JAPAN 10, CZECH REPUBLIC 2
TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s pitchers struck out 16 in all.
The Czechs went ahead in the first when Marek Chlup doubled and scored on shortstop Takumu Nakano’s throwing error.
Ohtani struck out with two on in the third, but Japan went ahead as Yoshida doubled and scored on a single by 2015 Central League MVP Tetsuto Yamada.
Lars Nootbaar had an RBI single in the fourth as Japan opened a 7-1 lead. Kenduke Kondoh and Ohtani hit consecutive run-scoring doubles, and Ohtani stole third and scored on Yoshida’s sacrifice fly.
Yuki Udagawa and Hiroya Miyagi finished a four-hitter. Miyagi threw 68 pitches over five innings and struck out the final five Czech batters,
AUSTRALIA 12, CHINA 2
TOKYO (AP) — Wingrove hit a three-run double off loser Xin Qi in the first inning and added an RBI single in a five-run fourth as the Southern Thunder opened a 10-2 lead.
Robbie Glendinning hit his second homer of the tournament, a two-run drive in the fourth against Weiyi Wang.
Winner Kyle Glogoski allowed one hit in 2 2/3 scoreless innings with five strikeouts and three walks. Coen Wynne pitched 2 2/3 hitless innings and Todd Van Steensel threw a perfect seventh as four pitchers combined on a five-hitter.
China scored twice in the fourth when Jie Cao hit his second double on the game, Luke Wilkins threw a run-scoring wild pitch and Jinjun Luo had an RBI single.
PANAMA 2, ITALY 0
TAICHUNG, Taiwan (AP) — Jose Ramos homered off loser Michele Vassalotti leading off the second inning and scored on Allen Cordoba’s seventh-inning single against Sam Gaviglio. Ramos is hitting .313 (5 for 16).
Italy put runners at the corners in the ninth when Javy Guerra walked Dominic Fletcher leading off and Brett Sullivan singled, but John Valente struck out and Nicky Lopez hit a comebacker that Panama turned into a game-ending double play.
Winner Harold Araúz allowed two hits in four scoreless innings, and Humberto Mejía, Alberto Baldonado and Guerra finished a five-hitter.
TAIWAN 9, NETHERLANDS 5
TAICHUNG, Taiwan (AP) — Chang homered off Derek West after Li Lin’s tying RBI single against loser Lars Huijer. Chang hit a two-run homer in the 11-7 victory over Italy and is 6 for 12 with seven RBIs in the tournament.
Winning pitcher Tzu-Peng Huang gave up two runs — one earned — and two hits in 2 2/3 innings.
Didi Gregorius had two RBIs for the Netherlands, including a first-inning RBI single, and Xander Bogaerts went 0 for 3 with three strikeouts and two walks.
Tsung-Che Cheng’s run-scoring single and Kun-Yu Chiang’s sacrifice fly boosted the lead in the third, and Chieh-Hsien Chen made it 8-2 with an RBI triple in the fourth.
Ray-Patrick Didder homered for the Dutch, who got RBI singles from Juremi Profar — Jurickson’s brother — and Wladimir Balentien. The Netherlands closed to 8-5 in the eighth before Chia-Hao Sung retired Chadwick Tromp on an inning-ending flyout with a man on.
PUERTO RICO 9, NICARAGUA 1
MIAMI (AP) — Francisco Lindor scored twice and hit an RBI single as Puerto Rico won its 2023 WBC debut.
Lindor singled and scored in the first inning.
Elian Miranda hit a homer off starter Marcus Stroman in the fifth to tie it at 1. Puerto Rico retook the lead in the bottom half with a five-run inning against JC Ramirez.
Lindor and Javier Baez both drove in runs in the fifth, Kike Hernandez scored and MJ Melendez hit a two-run single to give Puerto Rico a 6-1 lead.
Puerto Rico added to its lead with a three-run seventh when Emmanuel Rivera scored on a fielding error and Christian Vázquez added a two-run single.
Vázquez had two hits, a pair of RBIs and scored once. Nicholas Padilla got the win for Puerto Rico.
SOUTH KOREA 7, CZECH REPUBLIC 3
TOKYO (AP) — Ha-Seong Kim of the San Diego Padres hit two solo homers for South Korea on Sunday.
Winning pitcher Se Woong Park struck out eight in 4 2/3 innings. South Korea improved to 1-2 in Group B and will play winless China in its final group game. The Czechs are also 1-2.
St. Louis Cardinals infielder Tommy Edman had 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.
CUBA 7, TAIWAN 1
TAICHUNG, Taiwan (AP) — Cuba got home runs from Yoán Moncada of the Chicago White Sox and Erisbel Arruebarrena.
Cuba and Taiwan are both 2-2 in a tight Group A. The Netherlands and Italy were set to play later Sunday. The Dutch are 2-1 and Italy is 1-2.
If the Dutch defeat Italy, they would advance to the quarterfinals, as would Cuba.
Cuba broke out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning on a double by Alfredo Despaigne that scored Moncada and White Sox teammate Luis Robert. Arruebarrena’s two-run homer later in the inning made it 4-0.
Cuba starter Elian Leyva pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings for the win, striking out four.
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