Japan tops Netherlands, wins Pool
Japan and the Netherlands are on their way to the semifinals of the World Baseball Classic.
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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