World Baseball Classic 2017: Scores, Reaction from Wednesday Pool Play Results – Bleacher Report
Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images
March 8, 2017
The 2017 World Baseball Classic continued Wednesday with action in Pool A and Pool B that resulted in a pair of teams continuing to establish themselves as top contenders.
The Netherlands started the day with a dramatic victory that helped it improve to 2-0, while two-time WBC champion Japan was victorious for the second consecutive day as well.
Here is a rundown of how things played out Wednesday at the Gocheok Sky Dome in South Korea and Japan’s Tokyo Dome.
Wednesday’s WBC Results
Netherlands 6, Chinese Taipei 5
The Netherlands were victorious Wednesday in a hard-fought battle with Chinese Taipei, which resulted in both the Dutch and Israel advancing to the second round of the WBC.
Chinese Taipei carried a 2-1 lead into the fourth inning, but the Netherlands exploded for three runs. That advantage was quickly erased, however, when Chinese Taipei countered with three runs of its own in the top of the fifth inning.
The favored Netherlands team entered the bottom of the eighth down by one and needing some offense, and it got it when New York Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius doubled for the third time in the game to tie it at 5-5.
As seen in this tweet courtesy of WBC Baseball, Gregorius’ clutch hit set off a huge celebration in the Netherlands’ dugout:
WBC Baseball @WBCBaseball
.@DidiG18 is on another level.
His THIRD double ties the game at 5 in the 8th! #WBC2017 https://t.co/xKCrLYq3tJ
Chinese Taipei was unable to counter in the top of the ninth, which gave the Netherlands an opportunity to win in walk-off fashion.
After loading the bases with no outs, Texas Rangers utility man Jurickson Profar came to the plate.
Although he didn’t come through with a big hit, Profar managed to draw a walk, which resulted in Dwayne Kemp coming home and the Netherlands winning 6-5.
As MLB.com’s Keegan Matheson pointed out, the odd nature of the walk-off made for an interesting scene in South Korea:
Keegan Matheson @KeeganMatheson
Jurickson Profar standing awkwardly in the box after ball four, wondering if he actually had to walk to 1st, was… quite the walk-off image
The Netherlands entered the tournament as a dark-horse pick to win due to plenty of MLB talent, including Gregorius, Profar, Andrelton Simmons, Xander Bogaerts and Jonathan Schoop.
Pitching is the team’s biggest question mark, and starter Jair Jurrjens didn’t ease concerns Wednesday by allowing three hits, three walks and two runs in three innings.
Even so, the Dutch can hit with the best of them, and that gives them a chance to make some noise in the WBC.
Japan 4, Australia 1
Japan got off to a slow start Wednesday against the Aussies, but it managed to get things going offensively as the game went on to win for the second straight day.
Australia jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second inning when catcher Allan de San Miguel went deep with a solo homer. The Aussies carried that advantage into the fifth inning until Nobuhiro Matsuda executed a sacrifice fly to tie it.
That resulted in Australian starter Tim Atherton being lifted from the game, but he did well to hold the potent Japanese lineup in check with just four hits and one run allowed in four innings.
Lefty Lachlan Wells came in, and the Minnesota Twins prospect was dominant in two innings of work:
MLB Pipeline @MLBPipeline
Australia’s 5’8, 20-year-old lefty Lachlan Wells vs. mighty Japan:
#MNTwins No. 26 prospect
Live 📺: https://t.co/8iZ46LbjBS https://t.co/GUz7b8TVkj
Australia’s grip on the game loosened in the seventh inning, though, when first baseman Sho Nakata hit a solo home run off Matt Williams to put Japan on top for the first time.
In addition to giving Japan the lead, it got the crowd involved:
WBC Baseball @WBCBaseball
In the clutch! Sho Nakata crushes a solo blast and Japan takes a 2-1 lead in the 7th! #WBC2017 https://t.co/IYMtzmivmk
The game was essentially put away in the eighth inning when left fielder Yoshitomo Tsutsugo connected for a two-run shot.
Naoki Miyanishi and Kazuhisa Makita then combined to shut down Australia for the remaining two innings to preserve the 4-1 victory.
Japan is now in excellent shape entering the second round following wins over Cuba and Australia. The Japanese squad settled for a third-place finish in 2013 after winning the first two WBCs.
Israel 4, Netherlands 2
Netherlands and Israel had each already done enough to advance to the next round entering the final game of Wednesday’s slate, but that didn’t stop Israel from continuing its hot play with a 4-2 win.
The victors didn’t put much stress on any single pitcher’s arm and used nine players on the mound, highlighted by Jason Marquis, who played for nine different MLB teams, including the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals. Marquis pitched a shutout inning and set the tone for a strong overall effort from the staff.
Netherlands scratched just two runs and five hits together throughout the game.
On the other side, Israel wasted little time busting out the sticks and pushed across three runs in the opening frame off Netherlands starter Rob Cordemans. Nate Freiman started the scoring with an RBI double, which was followed by a Zach Borenstein RBI groundout and Ryan Lavarnway RBI single, as MLB Network shared:
MLB Network @MLBNetwork
This hit by @RyanLavarnway capped a 3-run bottom of the 1st for 🇮🇱! #WBC2017 https://t.co/mkOWpaB0yZ
Netherlands’ bullpen kept it within striking distance, and Bogaerts’ RBI groundout in the third made it a two-run game.
However, Israel tacked on an insurance run in the sixth and allowed just one run in the eighth despite committing two errors and handing out two walks in four straight at-bats. Josh Zeid induced a critical double play with the bases loaded to escape the jam, as MLB Network captured:
MLB Network @MLBNetwork
With The Netherlands threatening, @Josh_Zeid14 gets out of a jam. We head to the bottom of the 8th. #WBC2017 https://t.co/xgFYzm9eMn
Zeid then closed the door in the ninth to clinch the win.