Mexico vs Japan summary: scores, stats and highlights | 2023 World Baseball Classic
Japan walk-off 6-5 win over Mexico books their spot in final
Japan walk-off 6-5 win over Mexico books their spot in final
This game was epic! It had everything that baseball promises: great pitching, contact hitting, small ball, big blasts, and a walk-off finish. This was one of the best baseball games you could ever hope to see.
Mexico got out to a three-run lead in the fourth with a towering shot from Luis Urías and held it. Great pitching, more than a pinch of luck, and of course Randy Arozarena kept Mexico in front for seven innings.
On the Japanese side of the ball, there was solid play and lots of base runners; in fact they stranded ten of them on the night. But the lucky breaks all fell Mexico's way, and sometimes it is better to be lucky than to be good.
In the seventh inning, Masataka Yoshida blasted a bomb off the right field foul pole to level the score, and once again Mexico hit right back, posting two of their own in the bottom half of the inning to retake the lead. Japan clawed one back but were in desperate straits.
And then, with all the chips down, in the bottom of the ninth Japan got two runners on base for Munetaka Murakami. The NPB triple crown winner has been oddly silent in the tournament so far. He had gone 0 for 4 on the night, and 0 for 18 in the entire WBC competition. It was only a matter of time before his bat came to life and that moment was when it counted most.
A massive double blasted off the left center wall allowed two runs to score to make it 6-5 for Samurai Japan and propel them into the final game against the USA tomorrow.
Mexico owe their appearance in the semi final, as well as their holding the lead as long as they did in this game, to Randy Arozarena. The Cuban-born outfielder has seared his name into the hearts of all Mexicans and his defensive play in particular was perhaps some of the best play in the entire tournament. In the words of the immortal Costa Rican-born Mexican singer Chavela Vargas, "Los mexicanos nacemos donde nos da la rechingada gana."
"Us Mexicans are born wherever the hell we feel like it."
Japan will now face the USA in the 2023 WBC final game tomorrow at 7 p.m. in Miami's loanDepot Park. Japan are the only country to have ever won the title twice and are looking to extend that to become the undisputed kings of world baseball. Defending champions USA are looking to join Japan as the only teams to have ever repeated as champions. It promises to be a clash of titans.
That is going to be it for our live coverage of the Mexico vs Japan WBC semifinal game. Thank you for joining us, we hope that you enjoyed it as much as we have! We will be back tomorrow on Diario AS USA to bring you live coverage of the final game of the 2023 World Baseball Classic as the Japan will meet the USA.
Until then, have a good evening and I'll leave you with some pre-final reading:
Lars Nootbaar discusses the win
Lars Nootbaar sits down with the Fox crew to discuss the win in the few minutes just after the game.
Mexico can hold their heads high, though. They have played as well as any team in the competition and after upending the USA, came within a whisker of upending Japan, showing that they belong in the conversation when you talk about the best baseball nations in the world.
But Japan stayed in this competition, never letting the game get too big for them. And they will be rewarded with another appearance in the final against the USA.
Japan have never missed a semi final in WBC history and will now play in their third final game, looking for their third win.
You have to feel bad for Mexico, they played their guts out. Particularly Randy Arozarena, who single-handedly saved at least five runs with his defensive play tonight.
What a time for Murakami to come to life! That was a blast to center!
Murakami rides a blast off the wall in center! Ohtani scores! Shuto is right behind him! It is a walk-off double to end the game! Japan win!
Pinch-runner Ukyo Shuto replaces Masataka Yoshida at first.
Munetaka Murakami now at the plate. He is 0 for 4 tonight with three strikeouts, but he won the triple crown in Japan last year. He has been sleeping in this tournament but if he turns it on it could be big.
Yoshida holds fast and gets four balls for the walk. Runners now on first and second with nobody out.
Masataka Yoshida is up with Ohtani on second. Yoshida hit the three run homer to tie it and he represents the winning run right now.
Ohtani jumps on the first pitch into the right center field gap for a leadoff double! This is the game that keeps giving!
Shohei Ohtani will lead off for Japan and this is what everybody who loves baseball dreams of
Mexico will now call on Giovanny Gallegos to try and slam the door on Japan.
Barnes gets a lovely change up and swings through it for strike three.
Austin Barnes comes up with Thomas on first and two outs.
Alek Thomas comes up and a low ball clips him on his front foot.
Alan Trejo comes to the plate and flies the first pitch to shallow left. Yoshida is charging, but can't get there. Genda is flying out from short and makes the catch with his back to the ball! Wow! That was an amazing play by Sosuke Genda!
Luis Urias leads off for Mexico and he hits a fly ball to right. Kensuke Kondoh makes the catch for out number one.
Takumu Nakano will stay in the game at second as Tetsuto Yamada shifts over to first. A new catcher in Takumi Ohshiro takes over behind the plate.
Taisei Ota will take over on the mound now for Japan
Kondoh watches a beautiful strike three called at the knees! Mexico, yet again, get out of a jam, but Japan cut the lead to one as we head to the 9th, Mexico 5, Japan 4
Kensuke Kondoh will now come up with runners on first and second and two out. He has been a line drive machine tonight, but has been somewhat unlucky.
Nootbaar works the count full before the payoff pitch misses low and in. Mexico appeal the check swing but he didn't go.
Lars Nootbaar will now come up to the plate for Japan with a runner on second and two out.
That will signal the pitching change and Gerardo Reyes will head out to take over from Jesus Cruz on the mound.
Hotaka Yamakawa flies one out to left, well hit but tracked down by Randy Arozarena. It is deep enough for the tag and Takumu Nakano scores from third. 5-4 now
Hotaka Yamakawa will now pinch hit for catcher Takuya Kai.
He gets the two-strike bunt down and it is a beauty. Meneses charges it and there is no play other than at first. He makes the throw for out number one, but both runners advance.
Another bunt foul and two balls levels the count 2-2.
Genda does indeed bunt, but foul.
Sosuke Genda squares around early showing bunt. Mexico take the opportunity for a mound visit.
Tetsuto Yamada will now come to the plate and he represents the tying run for Japan. He pokes one through to left field for a single. Nakano advances to second on the play.
Japan will pinch run Takumu Nakano for Okamoto.
Kazuma Okamoto will lead off for Japan and is hit by the first pitch.
Jesus Cruz comes on for Mexico to replace JoJo Romero.
Paredes rips one through the hole at third! Duran scores! Maneses rounds third and tries for home. The throw from Yoshida guns him down. Kai applies the tag and Japan are out of the inning. But Mexico have bitten back, posting two further runs on Japan to go up 5-3!
Isaac Paredes comes in to see if he can make Japan pay, with two down and runners on second and third.
Tellez chases a beautiful splitter that just falls off the table for strike three.
Yuasa gets two quick strikes on Tellez before Joey Meneses takes off from first on the 0-2 pitch. The catcher cares not a jot. He gets to second on defensive indifference.
Rowdy Tellez will head to the plate with men on the corner and one out. Mexico have retaken the lead 4-3 and are knocking on the door once again.
Yoshinobu Yamamoto will come out of the game now as Japan will call on Atsuki Yuasa to dig their way out of this hole.
Joey Meneses shoots one through the hole at third for a single. Duran had to hold up on the hit, so he will have to stop at third.
Jarren Duran will come out to pinch run for Alex Verdugo.
Alex Verdugo rips the first pitch into the gap in left center, scoring Arozarena! Verdugo is into second with a double and Mexico is back in the lead, 4-3
Randy Arozarena comes up and hits a shot to right, over the head of Kondoh for a one out double. He just keeps delivering for Mexico, first defense and now on offense!
Austin Barnes leads off for Mexico with a swinging strikeout on three fastballs.
Not this time though. Murakami pops one up to the left side and Paredes camps out under it for the third out to end the inning.
Munetaka Murakami now comes tot he plate. He has yet to make contact today, and is 0 for 16 in the tournament. But of all of the players that the Japanese public want to see come alive, Murakami is it. He is legendary in that country and this would be the perfect time for his bat to wake up.
We have a tie ball game! Three run shot off of a low change up. Yoshida hit that ball a mile!
Yoshida bangs a deep blast to right field. It is back and off the foul pole. HOME RUN!!!!
Masataka Yoshida comes tot he plate with two men on and two out.
Ohtani sees three pitches in the dirt before a strike sets up the final ball four. He gets the walk and runners are now on first and second.
Shohei Ohtani will now come to the plate with a runner on first and two out.
Benji Gil strides out to the mound and will call for JoJo Romero to take over on the mound.
Kensuke Kondoh at the plate now and tears a laser to right for a single.
Lars Nootbaar rips a shot to left center, but Arozarena tracks it down for the catch. Of course he did! Who else? Two down.
Kai tries to bunt, but it goes foul. The next pitch gets him swinging for strike three.
Takuya Kai comes to the plate to lead off the seventh for Japan. Somewhat surprisingly,. Urquidy is still on the mound for Mexico.
That ends the inning and Japan finally got a break in a game where everything has been going Mexico's way. So a strike-em-out, throw-em-out play brings the top of the seventh to a close. Mexico is still up 3-0
Alan Trejo ran on the pitch and the throw beat him by a mile, but he made a great swim move to avoid the tag. Japan challenges the call of safe.
He was definitely out from what we can see, but whether the umpires agree that the evidence is conclusive is yet to be seen.
They do. The call on the field is overturned.
Thomas works a deep count, after going ahead 3-0. Yamamoto comes back with four straight strikes that Thomas fouls off before a beautiful sinker gets him swinging.
Alek Thomas now at the plate with a runner on first and one out.
Alan Trejo fights off some great pitches, holding off the bad ones, fouling off the good ones. Finally on the eighth pitch of the at bat, the payoff pitch misses low and he draws the walk.
Luis Urías leads off for Mexico and grounds a sharp grounder to short for Genda. The throw to first gets the first out.
Sosuke Genda comes to the plate and flies a well-hit long fly ball to left, down the line. Arozarena is on his horse and catches up to it! Arozarena makes the catch! Once again, Mexico get out of jail and once again it is thanks to Randy Arozarena!
It is incredible that Benji Gil is sticking with Urquidy after that, but so he is.
Yamada gets behind but then works the count to full. The payoff pitch misses and the bases are now loaded.
Tetsuto Yamada comes to the plate with runners on first and second and two outs.
Okamoto stays strong and shows discipline in there and draws the two-out walk.
Kazuma Okamoto will now try and get something started for this Japanese side.
Murakami foul tips one into the catcher's mitt for the strikeout. That is the third time tonight that he has gone down on strikes.
Munetaka Murakami now comes to the plate with one out and Yoshida on first.
Masataka Yoshida heads to the batter's box and knocks a high chopper to first. Meneses goes to second to get the force out on Ohtani. The throw back to first not in time.
Shohei Ohtani will lead off here in the sixth for Japan and he lines a shot into left field for a leadoff single.
Paredes pops a high fly ball on the right side of the infield in foul ground. The first baseman Okamoto gets under it and hauls it in for out number three.
Isaac Paredes comes to the plate 2 for 2 on the night.
Rowdy Tellez goes down swinging on a nasty splitter. Two down
Meneses rolls one to second, Yamada makes the throw to first for the out.
Takuya Kai will come in behind the plate for Japan after Shugo Maki pinch hit for Nakamura.
Joey Meneses will lead things off for Mexico.
Kensuke Kondoh attacks the first pitch, driven to deep left and Arozarena nabs it at the wall to end the threat. That is two huge plays that he has made this inning! If Mexico win this game, they owe a lot of it to Randy Arozarena!
Nootbaar fights his way back from 0-2 to draw the walk. The bases are now full with two outs for Kondoh.
Lars Nootbaar will now come to the plate with two out and runners on second and third.
Maki hits a slow roller to short. Trejo fields it and throws to first for the second out, but both runners advance.
Shugo Maki will pinch hit for Yuhei Nakamura to face the new pitcher with runners on first and second and one out.
That is going to be the last pitch for Patrick Sandoval, and Benji Gil signals to the bullpen for Jose Urquidy to take over.
Genda runs the count full before the payoff pitch misses up and in to put runners on first and second.
Sosuke Genda comes to the plate now with one on and one out.
Tetsuto Yamada jumps on the first pitch and slaps a single to right field.
OH MY GOD!!!! Okamoto blasts one to deep left. Back to the track, back to the wall, Randy Arozarena leaps up and robs a home run!!!
What a play! Arozarena has saved Mexico already and he does it again here!
Kazuma Okamoto will lead off for Japan in the 5th.
Alex Verdugo stands in now and grounds a chopper to second. Yamada makes the throw to first to end the inning.
Randy Arozarena comes up to the plate now and walks on five pitches. Mexico have a runner on first with two outs.
Austin Barnes comes to the plate and rolls a slow grounder to third. Murakami makes the long throw to first for out number two.
Yamamoto is more of a straight sinker-curve pitcher and he gets Thomas to chase a nasty sinker whose bottom simply falls out for strike three.
Alek Thomas will lead off for Mexico against the new pitcher.
Japan will dip into the bullpen now and call on Yoshinobu Yamamoto to replace Roki Sasaki.
Murakami watches a beautiful slider go past him for strike three. It completely froze him and Mexico get out of jail free.
Munetaka Murakami comes to the plate with runners on the corners and two outs. He is a bona-fide legend in Japan, but has yet to break out in this tournament.
Masataka Yoshida rips a hanging slider into left field for a two-out single. Kondoh slides into third.
Ohtani lines a low slider to center field. Alek Thomas gets to it and takes the catch for out number two.
Shohei Ohtani will head to the plate with a runner on base.
Kensuke Kondoh now will head up to the plate and rips one through the hole at second for a single.
Nootbaar slowly rolls a grounder into the shift for the shortstop Trejo. He makes the throw to first for out number one.
Sandoval goes to work against Nootbaar.
Japan will have the top of the order with Lars Nootbaar, Kensuke Kondoh, and Shohei Ohtani here in the fourth and will want to punch back immediately.
Alan Trejo comes to the plate and gets that same hanging sinker, just a bit faster at 101mph, and hits a sharp grounder to shortstop. Sosuke Genda fields it and goes to first to get out of the inning. But Mexico have jumped out to a three-run lead, thanks to Luis Urías!
Urías smashes a hanging splitter for a three run home run! That is straight over the wall in left center. Mexico goes up 3-0
Luis Urías comes to the plate now with runners on first and second and two outs.
Isaac Paredes fights off a lot of splitters, fouling off four before he gets the one he is after. He nubs it off what sounded like a broken bat. It falls in just behind the third baseman Murakami for another bloop single. Tellez moves up to second on the play.
Rowdy Tellez heads to the box and gets behind 0-2. The delivery is slapped throught to left. The infield was shifted and he beat it the other way for a two-out single.
Joey Meneses now comes to the plate and jumps on the splitter, fly ball to deep left, but Yoshida catches up to it at the edge of the warning track for out number two.
A steady diet of splitters gets Verdugo swinging for strike three.
Alex Verdugo will get things started for Mexico here in the fourth.
Yuhei Nakamura stands in now and hits a little check swing bloop fly ball to second baseman Luis Urías, who takes it to end the inning.
Sosuke Genda comes to the plate and tries a new tack, laying down a bunt. It is too far out into the field and Sandoval gets to it quickly, turns and makes the throw to first for the out. Two down.
Yamada gets straight sinkers. He fouls off three before whiffing at the change up for strike three.
Tetsuto Yamada leads off for Samurai Japan in the third.
Randy Arozarena now heads to the plate and lines a rocket to first base, but directly to the glove of Okamoto to end the inning.
Austin Barnes stands in now for Mexico and hits a sharp grounder to third. Murakami fields it and makes the long throw for the second out.
Thomas gets a middle-middle cutter and grounds it to first. Kazuma Okamoto fields it and takes it to the bag himself for the first out.
Alek Thomas will lead off for Mexico to start the third.
Kazuma Okamoto comes up now and is the first Japanese batter from the right side. He hacks at the first pitch and chops it to short. Trejo fields it and flips to second for two, and the throw to first gets him to end the inning. 6-4-3 double play
Murakami chases a high slider for strike three. Sandoval's slider has been money all day!
Munetaka Murakami now comes to the plate. It is worth noting that so far, all of Japan's hitters have batted from the left side. They are one of the most left-heavy lineups in the tournament, and that can make things awkward for opposing pitchers.
Masataka Yoshida will lead off the inning for Japan and bashes a sharp line drive to center field for a leadoff single.
Trejo chops a roller to short. The flip to the bag at two and the throw to first gets the double play to end the inning. 6-4-3
Alan Trejo now comes to the plate with two runners on and one out. Sasaki says that he is ok and backs it up with a 101mph first pitch.
Urías fights off several fastballs foul before banging one right back at the mound. It hit Sasaki in the gut! That was like a punch to the ribs. The ball falls to the ground and everybody is safe.
Luis Urías heads to the box with a man on first and one out.
Isaac Paredes now stands in and rips a fastball out to left center field. It falls in for a one-out single, the first hit of the game.
Tellez jumps on the first pitch and chops one up the middle, directly to the shifted shortstop Sosuke Genda who makes the throw to first for out number one.
Rowdy Tellez will lead off for Mexico here in the second.
The payoff pitch is a slider at the top of the zone, Shohei watches it go by for a called strike three to end the inning. After one, both teams have been retired in order.
Ohtani has been fed a lot of change ups, whereas Sandoval gave both previous batters nothing but sliders. The count runs full.
Shohei Ohtani is now up to the plate and the crowd goes wild. Both the Japanese fans and the Mexican fans, equally. Ohtani is the undisputed star of this WBC so far.
Kensuke Kondoh will now come to the plate for Japan and fights off a few before watching a called strike three. Two down
Nootbaar gets all sliders and goes down swinging on three straight strikes.
Patrick Sandoval will take the mound for Mexico and face Lars Nootbaar to lead things off.
Sandoval is a fastball thrower for the most part, but can back it up with a nice slider and sinker.
Joey Meneses to the plate now and swings at a nasty splitter for the third strike. The ball is in the dirt, but the Japanese catcher Nakamura gathers it and tags him for the putout. A 1,2,3 inning.
Alex Verdugo now comes to the plate and fights off another 102mph pitch, hitting it deep to left, but Yoshida is under it to put it away for the second out.
The at-bat was all heat and Arozarena strikes out swinging on a 102mph fastball. Boy that just exploded out of his hand! One down.
Roki Sasaki is on the mound for Japan and he will face Randy Arozarena to get things started.
American audiences may not be familiar with Sasaki, but get used to it. You are going to be seeing a lot more of this young 21-year-old man in the coming years.
The highlights to remember: he throws fast - hitting 102.5 mph, and backs it up with a forkball, curve, and slider.
He delivers to Arozarena, a batter who seems to grow with the situation, who loves the spotlight and the big games.
First pitch from Sasaki is a 101mph sinker for a ball.
It is a beautiful 75 degrees here in Miami and the crowd is absolutely ELECTRIC! The teams are ready to take the field now and we are less than fifteen minutes away from first pitch.
If you would like to follow all of the action in Spanish, head over to our colleagues at AS USA LATINO who are bringing you all the play by play, EN ESPAÑOL
Randy Arozarena is all confidence
Nobody does swagger like Randy Arozarena.
"Prediction? Mexico is going to win!
I don't know."
Shohei Ohtani is ready
The first ball that Ohtani hit in pre-game batting practice landed in the upper deck.
Mexico will put the ball in the hands of Los Angeles Angels lefty Patrick Sandoval. A capable reliever, Sandoval was moved to the Angels starting rotation last season and really impressed, throwing a 97-pitch, full game shutout in April and finishing the season with a 2.91 ERA and 151 strikeouts across 148.2 innings.
Japan will start perhaps the most electric pitcher to take the world stage in recent years, Roki Sasaki. The 21-year-old plays his club ball with the Chiba Lotte Marines in the Japanese NPB, where he finished last season with a 2.02 ERA and 173 strikeouts in 129.1 innings. MLB fans are already salivating at the thought of getting him on this side of the Pacific, and mark my words, it is only a matter of time.
A tale of two WBCs
This is Mexico's first time making it past the quarterfinal round in WBC history. They are looking to ride this run as deep as they can. Japan is an unknown quantity for the Mexicans but if they can make it past tonight, they have to feel confident about their chances in the final against a USA team that is an old foe.
Japan are the only team to have ever won the WBC twice. They will fear no one, have no interest in the luck or streaks, and are perfectly content that their quality can sweep aside any and all opposition.
Welcome to our live coverage!
Welcome to the live commentary coverage of the Mexico vs Japan WBC semifinal game here with Diario AS USA.
In one of the tastiest matchups in the WBC, Japan and Mexico will clash with the winner going on to face the USA in the final tomorrow night.
Mexico came through Pool C, the same pool as team USA, and managed to win that group on the back of a humiliating defeat that they posted on the Americans.
The group wasn’t all plain sailing for Mexico, however, with Colombia stunning them in their first game, and even lowly Great Britain holding them to a one-run differential.
The electric play from Randy Arozarena has been the story of the Mexican side, where his defense single-handedly held off Puerto Rico in the quarterfinals and his bat has been red-hot throughout the competition, slashing .471/.625/.941 up to tonight.
While Mexico’s bullpen is strong, they are not as deep or talented as the Japanese, who have Shohei Ohtani, Yu Darvish, and an incredible Roki Sasaki to lean on in a rotation that has simply nullified all opposition.
Offensively, Ohtani is still the big name on team Japan, but Lars Noorbar and Kensuke Kondoh have been the top run scorers on a team that has made a habit of putting up impressive numbers. None of their games have been closer than a six-run margin.
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