(Via Getty Images)
Adam Jones said it best.
USA Baseball has unfinished business to take care of. Despite the Americans triumphing over Japan, they are on to face Puerto Rico to become World Baseball Classic Champions.
USA vs Japan was a pitcher's duel throughout. Tomoyuki Sugano was on the hill for Japan to face Tanner Roark for USA. Both pitchers were dominant through 3, but in the top of the 4th, the Japanese armor began to crack. Christian Yelich was able to reach 2nd base on an error by Japan's second baseman Ryosuke Kikuchi. After a Nolan Arenado strikeout (which was a common theme in this game) and an Eric Hosmer walk, Andrew McCutchen stepped up to the plate. He was able to rip a single to left field to drive in Yelich, and give the USA a seemingly-insurmountable 1-0 lead given the pitching.
Nate Jones came in relief of Roark in the 5th, and mowed down Japan 1-2-3. Jones returned for the 6th, and after getting one out, allowed a game-tying home run to Kikuchi, just out of McCutchen's reach. Jim Leyland sent in Andrew Miller, and after a walk to Nori Aoki, he was able to set down two straight batters.
After a scoreless 7th, Brandon Crawford got a one out rally going for the Americans with a sharp single. Ian Kinsler followed up with a double to put 2 runners in scoring position. Adam Jones came in clutch, grounding out to third to drive in Crawford. Mark Melancon came in for the 8th, allowing a single and then a sacrifice bunt. Melancon got Kikuchi to strike out, and then promptly walked Aoki to put runners of first and second.
Pat Neshek came in relief, and despite a home run swing from Yoshimoto Tsutsugoh (and a Matt Vasgersian call to match), got the biggest out of his baseball life. Luke Gregerson came in to close it out for USA, and did so 1-2-3, giving America its 2nd biggest win over Japan all time.
The Americans will play tonight against Puerto Rico for the championship, hoping to spread freedom around the baseball world once and for all.