World Baseball Classic scores, results: Netherlands and Israel advance
The Netherlands and underdog Israel have punched their ticket to the next round
Two teams have punched their tickets to the second round of the World Baseball Classic, and one did it on their off-day.
Early Wednesday morning, the Netherlands topped Chinese Taipei on, yes, a walk-off walk. The win clinched second round berths for the Netherlands as well as underdog Israel. Here is a recap of the day’s WBC action.
Netherlands 6, Chinese Taipei 5
One day after cruising to an easy win over South Korea, the Netherlands had their hands full against Chinese Taipei Wednesday morning. It took a series of miscues in the ninth inning -- the inning featured a throwing error, a hit-by-pitch, and a walk-off walk -- to give Netherlands the win. Rangers youngster Jurickson Profar drew the game-winning free pass. That only happened after his fly out was negated by an umpire granted a last second time out.
To the action footage:
Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius had a big game for the Netherlands, going 3 for 4 with three doubles. He drove in three runs and scored two others. Former big leaguer Jair Jurrjens got the start and allowed two runs in three innings before reaching his pitch limit.
With the win, both the Netherlands (2-0) and Israel (2-0) have clinched spots in the second round of the WBC. Those two clubs will play Wednesday night to determine the winner of Pool A. Chinese Taipei (0-2) and South Korea (0-2) will play Thursday morning to determine the third and fourth place finishers in the pool.
Japan 4, Australia 1
In front of the home crowd at the Tokyo Dome, Japan had to rally for one run in the seventh and two in the eighth to beat Australia. Home runs by Sho Nakata and Yoshimoto Tsutsugoh did the trick. Here is Nakata giving his club the lead:
Australia had a chance to break things open in the fifth inning when they loaded the bases with one out. James Beresford, a 28-year-old who reached MLB for the first time with the Twins last season, banged into an inning-ending double play, however.
Japan is now 2-0 in the WBC, and while they haven’t officially clinched a spot in the second round, they’re all but a lock to advance. They won the 2006 and 2009 WBCs, and made it to the second round in 2013. The only MLB player on their roster is Astros outfielder Norichika Aoki. Everyone else plays in Nippon Professional Baseball, Japan’s highest level.
Cuba 6, China 0
China, a heavy underdog thanks to the country’s nascent baseball program, held on for as long as they could. Veteran big leaguer Bruce Chen battled through 2 2/3 gutsy and scoreless innings before hitting his pitch count, and he did it wearing what appeared to be business casual cleats:
Cuba went to work on China’s bullpen once Chen was out of the game. They scored four runs in the fourth inning, include two on a triple by Raul Santos. Yoelqui Cespedes,, drove in a run that inning as well. Cuba limited China to one dinky little hit in the game. They are 1-1 in the tournament. China is 0-1 so far.
Pool A and Pool C in South Korea and Japan, respectively, are already well underway. Pool C (Miami) and Pool D (Mexico) don’t begin play until Thursday night. Here is the slate of games over the next 24 hours:
- Pool A: Israel (2-0) vs. Netherlands (2-0) at 10pm ET on Wednesday
- Pool A: Chinese Taipei (0-2) vs. South Korea (0-2) at 4:30am ET on Thursday
- Pool B: China (0-1) vs Australia (0-1) at 5am ET on Thursday
. The Championship Game will be played March 22 at Dodger Stadium.
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