The Philadelphia Phillies –yes, the Phillies– did all they could on Tuesday night to lead the United States to a World Baseball Classic title. But in the end a pair of solo home runs from Phils’ shortstop Trea Turner and outfielder Kyle Schwarber weren’t enough. Samurai Japan defeated the United States 3-2 to win the Classic in an all-time classic game.
The red hot Turner crushed a solo home run 406-feet into the left field seats to get the United States on the board in the top of the 2nd inning. Tuesday night marked Turner’s third consecutive WBC game with a round tripper. The Phils’ prized free agent led all players in the World Baseball Classic with five (5) homers.
CAN’T STOP WON’T STOP pic.twitter.com/z0sk37HmW1— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) March 21, 2023
CAN’T STOP WON’T STOP pic.twitter.com/z0sk37HmW1
In traditional samurai spirit, Japan answered immediately in their half of the 2nd inning. Yakult Swallows third baseman Munetaka Murakami launched a 432-foot homer to right-center field to tie the game. St. Louis Cardinals fan favorite Lars Nootbaar drove in what proved to be the game winning run on a groundout to third to give Japan a 2-1 lead after the 2nd inning.
Yomiuri Giants first baseman Kazuma Okamoto added a huge insurance run for Japan with a home run off of Colorado Rockies pitcher Kyle Freeland in the 5th inning to extend their lead to 3-1.
The United States battled back in the 7th inning when Schwarber demolished a Yu Darvish pitch and sent it 436-feet into the second deck of the loanDepot Park. Turner followed with a single to center, setting up Phils’ teammate J.T. Realmuto in a huge spot with USA down by one-run. Darvish was able to settle down and forced Realmuto and Cedric Mullins to pop out and fly out, respectively.
That baby’s OUT OF HERE pic.twitter.com/ppHv0tfcyV— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) March 22, 2023
That baby’s OUT OF HERE pic.twitter.com/ppHv0tfcyV
Japan went down quietly in the 8th inning setting up a Shohei Ohtani–Mike Trout showdown in the 9th inning.
New York Mets second baseman Jeff McNeil worked a walk against Ohtani to lead off the USA ninth and put the tying run at the plate. Ohtani forced Mookie Betts to ground into a backbreaking double play to clear the bases and set up the ultimate showdown with Trout, his Los Angeles Angels teammate.
In a moment made for Hollywood, Ohtani –the best baseball player in the game today– struck out Trout –perhaps the best baseball player of the past decade-plus– with a nasty slider to win the Classic for Japan.
🔊⬆️Listen in to the Japanese call of Ohtani's save and Team Japan's win! pic.twitter.com/3f2ilP9lsc— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) March 22, 2023
🔊⬆️Listen in to the Japanese call of Ohtani's save and Team Japan's win! pic.twitter.com/3f2ilP9lsc