Japan, Israel, Netherlands win in World Baseball Classic
TOKYO (AP) Nobuhiro Matsuda hit a three-run homer as Japan scored five runs in the fifth inning on its way to an 11-6 win over Cuba in the World Baseball Classic on Tuesday.
With two-time champion Japan leading 3-1 in the fifth inning, Matsuda made it 6-1 with a homer into the left-field stands at Tokyo Dome. Yoshitomo Tsutsugo added a two-run shot two innings later to widen the lead.
Cuba scored three runs in the seventh inning, including a solo shot by Alfredo Despaigne, and added two more runs in the eighth.
Ayumu Ishikawa gave up one run on two hits in 58 pitches over four innings for the win.
In Seoul, Ryan Lavarnway hit a two-run homer in the third inning and Nate Freiman added a three-run shot in the ninth to help Israel beat Taiwan 15-7 and improve to 2-0.
Israel's batters chased Taiwan starter Chun-Lin Kuo from the game before he could secure his third out, opening the top of the first with four straight hits and tagging Kuo for four runs in the frame.
Corey Baker went 4 2/3 scoreless innings, scattering three hits and striking out three. The 27-year-old right-hander is in the St. Louis Cardinals' organization and reached Triple-A last season.
In the other game in Seoul, Jurickson Profar and Randolph Obuder both hit two-run homers to give the Netherlands a 5-0 win over South Korea.
Former Major League starter Rick van den Hurk, who spent the past two seasons pitching in Japan, allowed three hits and walked two over four shutout innings for the win.