WBC: Japan 9, United States 4

March 23, 2009 at 12:59 AM
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LOS ANGELES, March 23 (UPI) -- Daisuke Matsuzaka went 4 2/3 strong innings Sunday to lead Japan past Team USA 9-4 and into the World Baseball Classic title game in Los Angeles.

Japan will play Korea Monday night, with a chance to win its first WBC title since the event's inaugural season in 2006. Korea reached the title game with a 10-2 victory over Venezuela Saturday. Japan and Korea have split the played four games they've played against one another during the 2009 WBC.

Matsuzaka held the U.S. squad to two runs on five hits and three walks with four strikeouts.

Hiroyuki Nakajima doubled twice and drove in two runs, while Kenji Johjima had two RBI and Akinori Iwamura scored a run and drove one in with a triple for Japan.

U.S. starter and losing pitcher Roy Oswalt allowed six runs on six hits and a walk with one strikeout in 3 2/3 innings. The U.S. defense hurt its own cause with three errors.

Brian Roberts stroked a solo homer and Jimmy Rollins went 4-for-4 with a triple, a walk and a stolen base for the United States.

Japan scored five runs in the fourth to take a 6-2 lead. Team USA scored twice in the eighth inning to make it 6-4, but Japan answered with three runs in the ninth to put the game out of reach.

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