Only seeding in the semifinals was at stake on Tuesday morning when Japan and the Netherlands crossed bats in World Baseball Classic play. In the end, Japan stymied a late-inning comeback attempt and prevailed by a score of 10-6.
DH Shinnosuke Abe hit a pair of homers for Japan -- both in the eight-run second inning -- and center fielder Hisayoshi Chono drove in five runs. For the Dutch, starter David Bergman was cuffed around for seven runs on four hits in just 1 2/3 innings of work.
Japan and the Netherlands had already secured berths in the single-elimination semifinal round, and Tuesday's win cinched a Pool 1 victory for Japan. Counting first-round play, the Japanese are now 5-1 in the 2013 WBC.
In the semis, Japan, which won the first two WBCs, will be paired against the runner-up from Pool 2 (which consists of the U.S., the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Italy), while the Netherlands will oppose the winner. The U.S. and the D.R. will enter pool-2 play, which begins Tuesday afternoon, as the favorites.
The semifinals begin Sunday at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
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