It doesn't matter how much the American bullpen dominates the Japanese lineup if the American's can't score. We're now six outs from a Japan-Korea final. That matchup has dominated the first two World Baseball Classics, with Korea winning four of seven of its head-to-head matchups with Japan, but Japan thus far winning the most important in 2006's semifinals.
Righty Takahiro Mahara is on for Japan. Mahara is one of the three actual relief pitchers on the Japanese roster.
Adam Dunn leads off by popping out to shortstop. Ryan Braun follows with a double down the left field line, putting a man in scoring positin for Brian McCann.
McCann fouls off a first-pitch fastball, then takes another outside for ball one, and another high for ball two. Mahara then comes down and in with the fastball and McCann fouls it off again to go even at 2-2. Mahara comes at 95 mph down the middle at the knees and McCann fouls that one back as well. A slider, the first off-speed pitch of the at-bat, is down an in, running the count full. McCann then fouls back three more fastballs. The ninth pitch is a knuckling fastball that dives low for ball four. That brings manager Tatsunori Hara to the mound, though he leaves Mahara in the game.
It's now first and second with one out for Mark DeRosa. DeRosa takes a fastball outside for ball one, then shoots a ball down the right field line. The ball kicks past Norichika Aoki in the left field corner allowing both runners to score and DeRosa to get to third base. The USA now trails by two runs with one out and a man on third base.
Evan Longoria comes to the plate to hit for Curtis Granderson.