Ohtani strikes out five, drives in 2 with a double and Japan triumphs

Shohei Ohtani allowed one hit in four innings he pitched, struck out five and was the winning pitcher Thursday in Japan’s 8-1 win over China in Pool B of the World Baseball Classic.

Ohtani also doubled off the left-field wall in the fourth to drive in two at Tokyo Dome and increase Japan’s lead to 3-0.

The fans got what they were looking for: Ohtani pitching, hitting and not disappointing the 41,616 who showed up.

Japan ultimately won in a closer game than expected until the hosts opened it up at the end.

Besides Ohtani, the fan favorite was Lars Nootbaar of the St. Louis Cardinals, who made a great catch up center and also led off and hit the first pitch he saw for a single in first.

China cut the lead to 3-1 in the sixth on Pei Liang’s home run, but Japan clawed it back in the seventh to make it 4-1 on Shugo Maki’s home run.

The Japanese added four runs in the eighth to close out the game.

Japan will next play South Korea on Friday, while China will face the Czech Republic.

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