Three games were played Friday in the World Baseball Classic. The first game of the day was between Japan and China at the Tokyo Dome, which also marked the closing of Pool B. USA took on Colombia in Miami at Marlins Park in Pool C, and Venezuela vs. Puerto Rico closed out the day in Pool D at the Estadio de Beisbol Charros de Jalisco in Jalisco, Mexico.
China vs. Japan (7-1):
Quan Gan started on the bump for China, and it didn’t go that well. Gan pitched three innings giving up five runs, all earned on five hits, two of which were home runs, walked one and struck out two. Ray Chang went 1-4 at the dish and drove in his teams only run.
China finished with one run on five hits and they committed three errors.
On the other hand, Japan had everything working for them. Their starter, Shota Takeda, was crisp in his three innings of work. He gave up four hits, the lone run the Chinese scored, one walk, and struck out three. Seiji Kobayashi and Sho Nakata each had a two-run home run in the victory.
Japan finishes the first round with a record of 3-0 and they advance to the second round which will be played at the Tokyo Dome beginning March 12.
Colombia vs. USA (3-2):
This was the thriller of the evening for sure. Jose Quintana started on the mound for Columbia and he was absolutely stellar! He threw 5.2 innings before hitting the 65 pitch limit in which he gave up one earned run on one hit and struck out four. Adrian Sanchez and Mauricio Ramos each had one hit and a RBI in this one.
Colombia finished with two runs on five hits and no errors, and drop to 0-1 in pool play.
For Team USA it was Chris Archer getting the start and he was phenomenal! He threw four perfect innings! He was removed after throwing 49 pitches so he can come back in this early pool play after one day rest.
Adam Jones was the offensive star for Team USA. Jones roped a RBI double down the left field line in the sixth to put the U.S. on the board. Then, in the 10th, with two on and two down, Jones laced a single into left center to give team USA a 3-2 victory.
Team USA finished with three runs on six hits and no errors and move to 1-0 in pool play.
Venezuela vs. Puerto Rico (11-0/7 innings):
Venezuela struggled in this one. Felix Hernandez got the start for Venezuela. He threw 2.2 innings giving up two earned runs on two hits while walking two and striking out three. Being down 2-0 after three innings isn’t bad.
Jouhlys Chacin came in to pitch in fourth. He threw 2 consecutive scoreless frames, then it all blew up in the sixth. He gave up three runs in the sixth, then in the seventh, he managed to get two outs before being taken out with two runners on, and they ended up scoring. Chacin’s final line in 3.2 IP he gave up five runs, all earned, on four hits, two of which were home runs.
While one team struggled to do anything, the other flourished in their pool play opener. Seth Lugo got the start for Puerto Rico. Lugo pitched 5.1 innings giving up no runs on one hit, walked none and struck out three. Puerto Rico used just two other pitchers in this game, Giovanni Soto, and Joe Jimenez; each gave up one hit.
The offense was unstoppable for Puerto Rico. Carlos Correa, Yadier Molina and T.J. Rivera each hit home runs in this one. Correa’s was a solo shot while Molina’s and Rivera’s were two-run bombs. Beltran, Baez and Rosario also contributed with RBI’s.
Puerto Rico finished with eleven runs on ten hits and no errors. They rise to 1-0 in pool play.
Saturday brings a full day of games:
Colombia vs. Canada (12 P.M. EST)
Venezuela vs. Italy (3 P.M. EST)
USA vs. Dominican Republic (6:30 P.M. EST)
Puerto Rico vs. Mexico (9:30 P.M. EST)
Cuba vs. Israel (10 P.M. EST)