The stage is now set. After Sunday nights USA 14-2 drubbing of Cuba all we wanted last night was a ballgame. A ball game that would reignite this World Baseball Classic and that's exactly what we got.
After trailing the entire game Japan came back in the bottom of the ninth to punch their ticket to ( if you trust me and what the players are saying ) the biggest dance in baseball. Trailing 5-4 in the ninth inning, Japan came roaring back when Ohtani led off the bottom half with a double off closer Giovanny Gallegos, Red Sox’s imported free-agent Masataka Yoshida who has been the true star of this series for Japan (.474/2/13) hit a three-run homer back in the third inning keeping Japanese crew in the game, drew a walk. Bringing Munetaka Murakami to the dish with two on but wearing a 3 K night around his neck. And the two time Japanese Central League MVP reminded everyone why he is a two time MVP and drilled a shot to the left center gap that erased what had been a personally terrible WBC and Mexico's lead Driving in the game tying and game winning runs. Sending the pacific rim and everyone in attendance Sans the Mexican team and their amazing fans into a frenzy. 6-5, game over. bring on the Americans.
Patrick Sandoval took the hill for Mexico as the starter and you could tell he was sick of hearing about Japan's Roki Sasaki. Sandoval struck out the side in the first inning, and never looked back. Shutting down the vaunted Japanese team for 4 ⅓ giving up 4 hits and striking out six. Most importantly giving up a ZERO in the run column. The Mexican team was feeling the moment early but like in almost every game in this WBC no lead was safe and Japan had their pride on the line going into the last two frames. Down 4-3 after Red Sox right fielder Alex Verdugo put Team Mexico up with a double in the top half of the eighth scoring Arozarena who had doubled before Verdugo came to bat. Isaac Paredes closed out the scoring for Mexico with a single and pinch runner Jarren Duran crossed the plate and the inning ended 5-3 as Mexico got greedy and Menses who tried to score from second was thrown out at home after Duran scored.. Then the Japanese crew manufactured a beautiful run in the bottom half of the inning. The Ninth ? we have already gone over.
I have to admit I loved the Mexican Cinderella story coming into this one. After all, who doesn't love an underdog. I wanted to see them take down the heavily favored team Japan, and face the States tonight. But like with anything I want. It didn't happen. Now the world gets the matchup they all wanted. Japan v USA. I just hope it lives up to everything that led up to this moment.