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Around The World: March 21, 2017 - USA wins a thriller over Japan, move on to WBC Finals to face Puerto Rico

USA and Japan squared off in a white knuckler on Tuesday night and the US team scraped by with a 2-1 win in a game that featured some great pitching. The IBI's Arthur Kinney takes us Around the World to recap the action from the game...

UNITED STATES 2, JAPAN 1

The United States has advanced to the Championship Game of the World Baseball Classic for the first time in the tournament's history.  The game that sent Team USA farther into the WBC than they have ever been before was a pitchers' duel on a rainy night in Los Angeles (more of a mist than rain, really, but by Southern California standards, this was a downpour).

US pitcher Tanner Roark, in his first and only start of this year's World Classic, threw four shutout innings before reaching his pitch limit (a Nationals-imposed one, not the WBC pitch limit).  Outside of a home run allowed by White Sox reliever Nate Jones, the USA bullpen was unstoppable as well.  Japan's pitching was almost as good, with starter Tomoyuki Sugano allowing only an unearned run in six innings and the bullpen allowing only one run in three innings of work.  Samurai Japan, while unable to make it three titles in four WBCs played, had a good tournament, especially considering how underwhelming their play was in the opening round.  The United States now has a chance for their first ever WBC title with a win over Puerto Rico in tonight's Championship Game.

Andrew Miller (United States, RP) - 0.2 IP, 1 BB, 1 K - While this stat line may look nondescript, Miller's performance on Tuesday was anything but.  He came in and recorded the final two outs in a sixth inning which had seen Japanese 2B Ryosuke Kikuchi tie the game on a solo home run against a struggling Nate Jones.  Miller kept the game tied, allowing the US offense to come back and score the eventual winning run in the top of the eighth. He is hardly in midseason form as he fell behind every hitter and had trouble locating, but he found a way to grind through and do the job.

That's all there is to say about Day 16 of the WBC.  Come back tomorrow for a recap of the Championship Game, which will see either the United States or Puerto Rico win their first World Baseball Classic title.


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