On Tuesday night in front of 36,098 fans at loanDepot Park, Japan beat the United States 3-2 to become the 2023 World Baseball Classic champion! Japan remains undefeated when it advances to the World Baseball Classic finals and went all the way in the 2023 edition without a single loss.
As many would have expected, Shohei Ohtani stole the show and was responsible for the final out of the game, striking out Angels teammate Mike Trout to reach Japan’s third crown. Japan has won three of five tournaments (2006, 2009, 2023). Based on his both pitching and hitting contributions, Ohtani was named the Most Valuable Player of the event.
The USA team cracked the scoreboard with another home run by Trea Turner, who finished the tournament tying the record for most homers in a single WBC – Seung Yuop Lee hit five, too, for Korea in 2006. It was a solo shot in the second inning.
Trea Turner's final WBC stats:— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) March 22, 2023
.391/.440/1.043 (1.483 OPS), 5 HR pic.twitter.com/OQL41YaV0r
However, that lead did not last. Munetaka Murakami took USA starter Merrill Kelly deep to tie the game at one in the bottom of the second inning. Immediately, Lars Nootbaar grounded out with bases loaded to bring the go-ahead run and make it 2-1.
A quick answer from Japan!— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) March 21, 2023
Munetaka Murakami solo homer to tie this thing up! pic.twitter.com/8CJJsoe1M2
Japan added one more run –the one that marked the difference eventually— in the fourth via a home run from Kazuma Okamoto’s bat.
Then, it was all zeroes until the top eighth, when Kyle Schwarber homered for the second time in the WBC, against Yu Darvish.
Kyle Schwarber has homered in the:— Codify (@CodifyBaseball) March 22, 2023
✅ World Series
✅ AL Championship Series
✅ NL Championship Series
✅ AL Division Series
✅ NL Division Series
✅ AL Wild Card Game
✅ NL Wild Card Game
✅ World Baseball Classic Championship
Japan saved their two best MLB stars for the final moment. After going with Darvish for the eighth, they brought Ohtani out of the ‘pen. Things got interesting for the USA team when Ohtani walked Jeff McNeil, but Mookie Betts hit into a double play.
As a last hope for America and as if it was a Hollywood movie, we got what we were asking for. A Mike Trout vs Shohei Ohtani battle. Six pitches later, including a 101.6-mph ball, Trout was done and everyone who rooted for Japan was jumping and celebrating at loanDepot park.
Japan became the second-ever team to finish a World Baseball Classic with a 7-0 record and Ohtani was named the MVP. The USA team failed to recapture the championship but will have another chance in 2026. See you later, WBC! It’s time for some MLB ball!