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03/15/2006 Archived Entry: "VIVA BEISBOL Extra (Mexican Pro Baseball News)"

Ojeda homer scores lone Mexican run

ANAHEIM – Catcher Tomoya Satozaki keyed a four-run fourth inning with a two-run homer to lead Japan to a 6-1 win over Mexico in a World Baseball Classic game Tuesday afternoon at Angel Stadium in front of an audience of 16,591 patrons. With the win, Japan evened their Pool 1 record at 1-1, while the Mexicans fell to 0-2 with one game remaining for both teams.

The Japanese entered the top of the fourth knotted up in a scoreless tie as Mexican starter Esteban Loaiza picked up where he left off last week with a strong start, matching Japan hurler Daisuke Matsuzaka inning for inning. However, the floodgates opened on Loaiza and Mexico when Japan notched four runs on the scoreboard. First baseman Michihiro Ogasawara’s double scored DH Nobuhiko Matsunaka and third baseman Akinori Iwamura to give Japan a 2-0 lead. The next batter, Satozaki, drilled a Loaiza pitch into the bleachers to give the Japanese team a 4-0 lead they would never relinquish.

Japan tagged on another run in the fifth to stretch their lead to 5-0 as Matsuzaka kept the shutout alive through the bottom of that frame before giving way to reliever Tsuyoshi Wada, who tossed two more shutout innings. Mexican catcher Miguel Ojeda, who is batting .333 in the WBC, ended the Japanese hopes for a whitewash in the bottom of the eighth by crashing a solo homer off another reliever, Yasuhiko Yabuta, but it was too little, too late. Japan plated one more insurance run in the top of the ninth, but didn’t really need it as Mexico’s bats fell silent for another outing after being shut down Sunday by a strong South Korean mound staff.

In all, the Mexicans collected just three hits off four Japanese pitchers, with shortstop Juan Castro and second baseman Jorge Cantu punching through singles to go along with Ojeda’s homer. Cantu, a starter for Tampa Bay during the summer, is Mexico’s top batsman in the tournament with a .350 average. For Japan, Satozaki finished with three hits, while Matsunaka and right fielder Ichiro Suzuki both had a pair of safeties. Satozaki is now hitting .462 in the WBC, pretty fair work for a Number Eight batter.

While Matsuzaka took the win for Japan by allowing one single in his five innings of work, Loaiza was tagged with the loss for Mexico after allowing four runs and seven hits in his four innings. Reliever Dennys Reyes was ineffective, giving up three hits and a run in the fifth inning. Pablo Ortega and Antonio Osuna followed Reyes and combined for three hitless innings, but Luis Ayala took the hill in the ninth and gave up the final Japanese run on two hits and a walk.

Japan will take on surprising South Korea tomorrow in Anaheim in a rematch of the deciding game from Pool A, while Mexico will meet the United States Thursday in what will be the final game of the WBC for the Tricolores.

Japan …………………………………………………….. 0 0 0 4 1 0 0 0 1 - 6 12 2
Mexico ……………………………………………………. 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 - 1 3 2
WP-Daisuke Matsuzaka (2-0). LP-Esteban Loaiza (1-1). HR-Tomoya Satozaki (J),
Miguel Ojeda (M). T-2:36. A-16,591.

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