Japan vs. Mexico final score, results: Munetaka Murakami overcomes slump with walkoff double to stun Mexico
At the end of Monday night, no one has struck out in the World Baseball Classic than Munetaka Murakami. And at the end of Monday night, no one cared.
Murakami, who struck out three times in the semifinals for Japan against Mexico, became the hero in the last at-bat of the game with a walkoff two-run double that drove in Shohei Ohtani and Masataka Yoshida, two Major Leaguers, to give Samuarai Japan a 6-5 win.
It was a game in which Mexico spent nearly the entire time in the driver's seat, starting with a three-run home run in the fourth inning by Luis Urias off Roki Sasaki, whose outstanding splitter was on full display.
However, Patrick Sandoval more than held his own for Mexico, going 4 1/3 innings and giving up four hits without a run.
Japan's vaunted offense finally struck in the seventh, when Yoshida golfed a home run to tie the game at three. Mexico answered with two runs in the eighth to make it five three again, but three runs over the last two frames ultimately gave Japan a thrilling one.
The victory for Japan gives Samurai Japan its first championship appearance since 2009, when it defeated Korea behind Daisuke Matsuzaka.
Japan will face the United States, and Team USA will see a familiar face in the Padres' Yu Darvish. The United States are the defending WBC champions, and will have Merrill Kelly on the mound.
Ohtani will see his teammate Mike Trout on the other side of the field, as the Angels teammates try to bring gold to their country. This game ends a Cinderella run for Mexico, who rode Randy Arozarena to winning Pool C and a semifinal berth with a win over Puerto Rico.