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World Baseball Classic: Japan beats Brazil 5-3
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Fukuoka, Japan • Two-time defending champion Japan rallied to beat Brazil 5-3 on Saturday in its opening game of the World Baseball Classic.

Japan trailed 3-2 before adding three runs in the top of the eighth inning in front of a crowd of 28,181 at the Fukuoka Dome.

Hirokazu Ibata came off the bench to tie the game with a single to right that scored Seiichi Uchikawa from second. Japan took a 4-3 lead when Ibata scored from third on a fielder's choice and added an insurance run on Nobuhiro Matsuda's single to center that scored Hisayoshi Chono.

"This was a very difficult game for us," Japan manager Koji Yamamoto said. "Brazil put up a very good fight. But we got some timely hits in the eighth and were able to make a comeback."

Brazil, managed by Hall of Famer Barry Larkin, looked ready to pull off an upset when the tournament debutantes took a 3-2 lead in the fifth inning on a double by Leonardo Reginatto that scored Paulo Orlando from second.

"These players love to compete," Larkin said. "They love a challenge and this was a challenge similar to the qualifiers when we beat Panama. I'm extremely proud of the way my players performed in this game."

Japan is in Group A, which includes 2006 runner-up Cuba and China. Two teams from the group will advance to the March 8-12 second round at Tokyo Dome with a chance to move on to the March 17-19 championship round in San Francisco.

In the other game of the day, Andruw Jones got two hits and Diegomar Markwell and Orlando Yntema combined for seven innings of four-hit ball to help the Netherlands upset South Korea 5-0.

Roger Bernadina drove in two runs and Dutch shortstop Andrelton Simmons went 3-for-5, including two doubles.

Host Taiwan beat Australia 4-1 in the other Group B game earlier Saturday. The Netherlands and Taiwan face off Sunday.

World Baseball Classic • Netherlands beats South Korea.
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