Japan was hoping to stay unbeaten as they faced China on Sunday at Fukuoka's Yafuoku Dome. Despite a slow-starting offense, that kept China in the game, Japan finally broke it open in the 5th inning, with four runs that were enough to keep China at bay, resulting in a 5-2 win for the heavily favored Japanese team.expected to blow China out of the water, but another up-and-down performance by the Japanese hitters allowed the Chinese to somehow remain within arm's reach.
Japanese starting pitcher Kenta Maeda did a masterful job on Sunday night, after looking average in his previous outing in an exhibition game against Australia, keeping China on their heels, as he held them to only one hit and six strikeouts over five innings.
Japan, now 2-0 in Pool A, will be off until Wednesday, when they face off against Cuba in a must-see game that will be televised live on MLB Network.
For his part, Chinese starting pitcher Xia Lou through 3 2/3 innings but struck out two, walked two and only gave up one run. However, in the 4th inning, he was pulled from the game after reaching the pitch limit of 65 pitches.
Fortunately for Japan, once Lou was taken out, they feasted on relief pitcher Dawei Zhu as Yoshio Itoi hit a three-run double, preceded by an RBI single from Seiichi Uchikawa.
For China, they will now take on Cuba on Monday at 2:30 a.m. ET.