Samurai Japan Rallies to Rout of Rival S. Korea at WBC

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Japan’s Lars Nootbaar delivers an RBI single in the third inning at the Tokyo Dome on Friday.

After rallying to overcome an early three-run deficit, Japan never let up in rolling to a 13-4 rout of rival South Korea in their Pool B game of the World Baseball Classic at Tokyo Dome on Friday night.

Boston Red Sox outfielder Masataka Yoshida went 3-for-3 with five RBIs, including a two-run double in a four-run third inning, as Japan improved to 2-0 in the five-team group while South Korea dropped to 0-2.

The team, known as Samurai Japan, was to face the Czech Republic on Saturday night before finishing up the group stage against Australia on Sunday.

On Friday, South Korea tagged Japan starter Yu Darvish of the San Diego Padres for three runs — two earned — in the top of the third inning. But Japan replied with a four-run rally in the bottom half, sparked by an RBI single by Japanese-American outfielder Lars Nootbaar of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Two-way Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani went 2-for-3 with an RBI single in a five-run sixth inning, and the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks’ Kensuke Kondo had a solo home run and three RBIs.

The Orix Buffaloes’ Yuki Udagawa, the Tohoku Rakuten Eagles’ Yuki Matsui and the Chunichi Dragons’ Hiroto Takahashi each pitched a perfect inning of relief over the final three innings.