Japan hammer Cuba to move closer to World Baseball Classic final
Japan Today -- Mar 15
Two-time champions Japan knocked out Cuba 8-5 in the second round at the World Baseball Classic with two stunning homers by slugger Tetsuto Yamada on Tuesday, moving another step closer to the final stage.

Japan, unbeaten in the tournament, got off to a good start when Yamada blasted a lead-off homer in the first inning, to an explosive reaction from 32,700 local fans.

But Cuba, defeated by Japan in the first round, turned the match around as Yurisbel Gracial hit a two-run homer in the second inning.

The two teams progressed fairly evenly in the seesaw match, but Japan finally took the lead as substitute Seiichi Uchikawa scored the decisive run with a sacrifice fly in the bottom half of the eighth inning.

Yamada silenced the Cubans by smashing his second homer of the game in the same inning before ace closer Kazuhisa Makita sealed victory in style.

"It was good to have my own swings," upbeat Yamada told reporters.

"We are aiming at the world number one, but first we will beat our opponents at hand," Yamada said.

Japan manager Hiroki Kokubo said: "It was a tough game today, but our batters held on. What happened so far today is a thing of the past. We will go for a victory tomorrow at any cost."

Japan will take on Israel on Wednesday, while Cuba will play the Netherlands.

Japan, chasing a third title after scooping the first two editions of the World Baseball Classic in 2006 and 2009, narrowly beat the Netherlands on Sunday in their second round opener.

News source: Japan Today
Dec 18
A Russian Soyuz spacecraft was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 1:21 PM, local time, on Sunday. (NHK)
Dec 18
A fire broke out at a three-story reinforced concrete building housing an adult entertainment shop in the eastern Japan city of Saitama on Sunday afternoon, leaving four people dead and one person unconscious and in critical condition, local police and fire authorities said. (Jiji)
Dec 17
Police in Abashiri, Hokkaido, have arrested a 78-year-old man on suspicion of assault after he choked a 62-year-old taxi driver. (Japan Today)
Dec 17
A ski resort opened in western Japan's Hyogo Prefecture on Saturday, with its operator and the local government saying it is the country's first new facility to be opened to skiers and snowboarders in 14 years. (Japan Today)
Dec 17
A 27-year-old man was arrested Saturday on suspicion of kidnapping a 14-year-old girl in Fukui Prefecture and taking her to his home in Aichi Prefecture, police said. (Japan Today)
Dec 17
The operator of Japan’s only “baby hatch” said Saturday that the nation should allow women to give birth anonymously at hospitals in cases of unwanted pregnancy, while ensuring the children’s right to learn their mother’s identity after they grow up. (Japan Times)
Dec 16
A funeral home set to open soon in Japan plans to provide the country's first-ever drive-through service. (NHK)
Dec 16
Japan's Coast Guard has released video footage of North Korean boats illegally fishing in Japan's exclusive economic zone. (NHK)
Dec 16
The Japanese government is planning to revise steps that local governments should take to protect residents in case of armed attack. The move is in response to North Korea's continued development of ballistic missiles. (NHK)
Dec 16
At the opening of his trial on Friday, an 18-year-old boy admitted to stabbing a woman to death before dumping her body in Ryugasaki City last year, reports Jiji Press (tokyoreporter.com)