WBC Final: Japan wins 3-2 against Team USA

(CNN) Japan defeated the USA 3-2 in the championship game at Lone Depot Park in Miami in the World Baseball Classic on Tuesday night.

The game ended in dramatic fashion with Japan’s Shohei Ohtani hitting his MLB teammate Mike Trout with a full count slider to seal Japan’s third title. Ohtani, who batted .435 and pitched to a 1.86 ERA, was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

Japan won all seven games played in the tournament, thanks to its juggernaut offense 53 runs in its first six matches. But Team USA pitchers limited Japan to five hits. However Japan was sparked by solo home runs from Munedaka Murakami and Kazuma Okamoto.

Seven Japanese pitchers allowed nine US hits, but Team USA was 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

Team USA’s Trey Turner hit a solo home run off Shota Imanaka. It was Turner’s fifth home run, tying the WBC record.

But in the bottom half of the inning, Murakami, the two-time MVP in Japan, hit a home run off Team USA starter Meryl Kelly to tie the game at 1-1.

With one out on singles by Okamoto and Sosuke Zenta and a walk by No. 9 batter Yuhei Nakamura, Japan loaded the bases and failed to advance to second. Pitcher Aaron Loup came on for Team USA and gave up an RBI groundout to Lars Knudbar, Kensuke Kondo’s fly out to center to end the inning with Japan leading 2-1.

Japan won 3-1 with Okamoto’s leadoff homer in the fourth.

In the eighth inning, Yu Darvish pitched for Japan and Kyle Schwarber made it 3-2 for the USA on the 10th pitch of his at-bat.

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Japan won the WBC title in the first two editions of the tournament in 2006 and 2009.

The tournament was postponed from 2021 to 2023 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The next edition of the World Baseball Classic will be held in 2026 at locations to be determined.

CNN’s Thomas Schlager contributed to this report.

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