Japan opened up action early this morning against the always unpredictable team Netherlands. This time, things worked out a little closer to what would normally be expected with Japan forcing a mercy rule against the Kingdom. What was surprising was that Japan scored the majority of their 16 runs with the long ball, including a home run to lead off the game by Takashi Toritani. This makes Japan the first team to qualify for the semi-finals in San Francisco. The Netherlands will get one more chance as they will face Cuba in the final elimination game of round two. Unlike the first two rounds, the semi-finals are one game playoffs, with the winner moving on and the loser going home. Japan will have a week off before their next game.
In the biggest game of the day, the United States crushed Canada late, winning by a final score of 9 to 4. Adam Jones was the hero today for hitting the two run double that gave the US the lead in the 8th inning. Michael Saunders had another good game for the Canadians and won the Pool D MVP after batting .727 over the three games with 7 RBI. He leads all players in the World Baseball Classic so far in batting average and his ridiculous 2.042 OPS.
In the meaningless Venezuela vs. Spain game, Asdrubal Cabrera went one for two before being lifted for a pinch hitter. Venezuela came back from a three run deficit after the first inning to win 11-6. Cabrera will be the first Indian to return to Goodyear after playing in the WBC. In the other unimportant Pool C game, Mike Aviles hit a two run home run scoring the first two runs for team Puerto Rico against the Dominican Republic. Carlos Santana started at catcher for the third consecutive game and singled and scored in the sixth inning. The Dominican Republic won out in the end 4-2. This means team USA will play Puerto Rico going into round two.
Team USA used small ball early on, trying to take advantage of Canada's poor defense while Justin Morneau and Canada brought the big sticks.