TOKYO (AP) — Shohei Ohtani had another RBI double, 21-year-old right-hander Roki Sasaki reached 100 mph 21 times in 66 pitches and Japan beat the Czech Republic 10-2 on Saturday night to clinch a quarterfinal berth in the World Baseball Classic.
Shugo Maki hit his second home run of the tournament and new Boston Red Sox oufielder Masataka Yoshida had three RBIs, including a go-ahead, two-run double in the third inning off loser Ondrej Satoria as the Samurai Warriors overcame a 1-0 deficit.
Ohtani went 1 for 3 with a walk before a crowd of 41,637 in the Tokyo Dome, leaving for a pinch hitter in the eighth inning. He is 5 for 10 with three doubles, four RBIs and five walks for Japan (3-0), which has one more group game and will host a quarterfinal on Wednesday or Thursday. He also has pitched four scoreless innings.
Sasaki struck out eight in 3 2/3 innings and got the win. He allowed an unearned run, two hits and two walks.
Sasaki threw the 16th perfect game in Japanese major league history in April, then pitched eight perfect innings in his next start before being pulled after 102 pitches. He went 9-2 with a 2.02 ERA for the Pacific League’s Chiba Lotte Marines last year, striking out 173 in 129 1/3 innings.
In the opener, Rixon Wingrove had four RBIs as Australia (2-0) won in a 12-2 rout of China (0-3) in a game shortened to seven innings by the 10-run mercy rule.
In Group B at Taichung, Boston’s Yu Chang hit a tiebreaking, second-inning grand slam that lifted host Taiwan (2-1) to a 9-5 win over the Netherlands (2-1), and Panama (2-2) won 2-0 over Italy (1-2).
Also, Puerto Rico beat Nicaragua 9-1 in Miami.
JAPAN 10, CZECH REPUBLIC 2
TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s pitchers struck 16 in all.
The Czechs went ahead in the first when Marek Chlup doubled and scored on shortstop Takumu Nakano’s throwing error.
Ohtani struck out with two on in the third, but Japan went ahead as Yoshida doubled and scored on a single by 2015 Central League MVP Tetsuto Yamada.
Lars Nootbaar had an RBI single in the fourth as Japan opened a 7-1 lead. Kenduke Kondoh and Ohtani hit consecutive run-scoring doubles, and Ohtani stole third and scored on Yoshida’s sacrifice fly.
Yuki Udagawa and Hiroya Miyagi finished a four-hitter. Miyagi threw 68 pitches over five innings and struck out the final five Czech batters,
AUSTRALIA 12, CHINA 2
TOKYO (AP) — Wingrove hit a three-run double off loser Xin Qi in the first inning and added an RBI single in a five-run fourth as the Southern Thunder opened a 10-2 lead.
Robbie Glendinning hit his second homer of the tournament, a two-run drive in the fourth against Weiyi Wang.
Winner Kyle Glogoski allowed one hit in 2 2/3 scoreless innings with five strikeouts and three walks. Coen Wynne pitched 2 2/3 hitless innings and Todd Van Steensel threw a perfect seventh as four pitchers combined on a five-hitter.
China scored twice in the fourth when Jie Cao hit his second double on the game, Luke Wilkins threw a run-scoring wild pitch and Jinjun Luo had an RBI single.
PANAMA 2, ITALY 0
TAICHUNG, Taiwan (AP) — Jose Ramos homered off loser Michele Vassalotti leading off the second inning and scored on Allen Cordoba’s seventh-inning single against Sam Gaviglio. Ramos is hitting .313 (5 for 16).
Italy put runners at the corners in the ninth when Javy Guerra walked Dominic Fletcher leading off and Brett Sullivan singled, but John Valente struck out and Nicky Lopez hit a comebacker that Panama turned into a game-ending double play.
Winner Harold Arauz allowed two hits in four scoreless innings, and Humberto Mejia, Alberto Baldonado and Guerra finished a five-hitter.
TAIWAN 9, NETHERLANDS 5
TAICHUNG, Taiwan (AP) — Chang homered off Derek West after Li Lin’s tying RBI single against loser Lars Huijer. Chang hit a two-run homer in the 11-7 victory over Italy and is 6 for 12 with seven RBIs in the tournament.
Winner Tzu-Peng Huang gave up two runs — one earned — and two hits in 2 2/3 innings.
Didi Gregorius had two RBIs for the Netherlands, including a first-inning RBI single, and Xander Bogaerts went 0 for 3 with three strikeouts and two walks.
Tsung-Che Cheng’s run-scoring single and Kun-Yu Chiang’s sacrifice fly boosted the lead in the third, and Chieh-Hsien Chen made it 8-2 with an RBI triple in the fourth.
Ray-Patrick Didder homered for the Dutch, who got RBI singles from Juremi Profar — Jurickson’s brother — and Wladimir Balentien. The Netherlands closed to 8-5 in the eighth before Chia-Hao Sung retired Chadwick Tromp on an inning-ending flyout with a man on.
PUERTO RICO 9, NICARAGUA 1
MIAMI (AP) — Francisco Lindor scored twice and hit an RBI single as Puerto Rico won its 2023 WBC debut.
Lindor singled and scored in the first inning.
Elian Miranda hit a homer off starter Marcus Stroman in the fifth to tie it at 1. Puerto Rico retook the lead in the bottom half with a five-run inning against JC Ramirez.
Lindor and Javier Baez both drove in runs in the fifth, Kike Hernandez scored and MJ Melendez hit a two-run single to give Puerto Rico a 6-1 lead.
Puerto Rico added to its lead with a three-run seventh when Emmanuel Rivera scored on a fielding error and Christian Vazquez added a two-run single.
Vazquez had two hits, a pair of RBIs and scored once. Nicholas Padilla got the win for Puerto Rico.