WBC roundup: Japan rolls into quarters; Colombia tops Mexico

Roki Sasaki struck out eight and Japan overpowered the Czech Republic for a 10-2 victory Saturday in the World Baseball Classic in Tokyo.

Sasaki was dominant, clocking 21 of his 66 total pitches at or above 100 mph, according to the radar gun shown on the TV broadcast.

Japan moved to 3-0 in Pool B and is assured a spot in the quarterfinals.

Pitching on the 12th anniversary of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that claimed the life of his father and grandparents, Sasaki, 21, allowed two hits and one run.

Marek Chlup doubled and scored in the first inning on a fielding error to give the Czech Republic (1-1) the 1-0 lead.

Japan’s offense, kept off-balance by Ondrej Satoria’s diet of off-speed pitches and a fastball that never hit 80 mph, finally broke through with three runs in the third inning.

Shohei Ohtani’s one-out RBI double helped charge a four-run fourth. Ohtani also stole third base.

Satoria had four strikeouts and left with a memorable souvenir. He fanned Ohtani, who spun himself to the ground and lost his helmet.

Japan can complete a perfect 4-0 run through pool play by beating Australia on Sunday.

Colombia 5, Mexico 4 (10 innings)

Jorge Alfaro scored from third base on an error in the 10th inning, and Colombia opened Pool C play with a 5-4 victory over Mexico at Phoenix.

Reynaldo Rodriguez hit a two-run home run and drove in three runs on three hits for Colombia, while Guillermo Zuniga closed the victory with two scoreless innings. Nabil Crismatt gave up one run in four innings as the Colombia starter.

Alfaro, the designated runner at second base to open the 10th inning, moved to third on an infield single and scored when Gustavo Campero’s ground ball to shortstop was misplayed by Mexico’s Luis Urias.

Randy Arozarena had two hits and drove in a pair of runs for Mexico, while starter Julio Urias gave up three runs on three hits over five innings, with six strikeouts.

Taiwan 9, Netherlands 5

Yu Chang launched a second-inning grand slam and Taiwan handed the Netherlands its first loss in Pool A action in Taichung City.

Chieh-Hsien Chen doubled, tripled and drove in a run and Li Lin went 3-for-5 with two RBIs for Taiwan (2-1), who never trailed after scoring five runs in the second inning.

Jurickson Profar singled and scored on a Didi Gregorius single to give the Netherlands (2-1) a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Ray-Patrick Didder hit a solo homer in the ninth inning.

Puerto Rico 9, Nicaragua 1

Marcus Stroman gave up one run over 4 2/3 innings, while MJ Melendez, Emmanuel Rivera and Christian Vazquez each drove in a pair of runs as Puerto Rico won the opener in Pool D play at Miami.

Nicholas Padilla picked up the win after recording the final out of the fifth inning. Puerto Rico broke open a tie game with a five-run fifth inning as Melendez delivered a two-run single to center.

Elian Miranda hit a home run for Nicaragua, while JC Ramirez (0-1) was charged with four runs on three hits and a walk in a third of an inning after he opened the fifth on the mound.

–Field Level Media