OSAKA, Japan — World No. 6 Mexico came from behind to take Game 1 of a two-game series with top-ranked Japan, winning 4-2 before a crowd of 28,933 Saturday night at the Kyocera Dome Osaka.
Trailing most of the game, the Mexican National Team took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the seventh inning, with No. 9 hitter Ali Solis blasting an RBI double and lead-off hitter Chris Roberson following up with an RBI single off Japan reliever Takahiro Matsunaga, who took the loss.
Luis Cruz added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth inning, belting an RBI double off Japan’s Yugo Umeno.
Mexico’s Jake Sanchez pitched a scoreless ninth inning to close the game, while Fabian Cota was credited with the win.
— WBSC ⚾ (@WBSC) March 9, 2019
Masataka Yoshida gave Japan a 1-0 lead to start the game, with an RBI single in the top of the first inning that scored Seiji Uebayashi.
In the top of the fourth inning, Samurai Japan catcher Takuya Kai made it 2-0 with an RBI single off Jose Samayoa.
Mexico’s Joey Meneses, who will play this year with NPB’s Osaka-based Orix Buffaloes, led all hitters, going four-for-four and blasting three doubles.
Game 2, the weekend series finale, will be played on Sunday (10 March) at the Kyocera Dome Osaka at 7:00 pm.
The international matches in Osaka, which are a test ahead of November’s flagship global event Premier12 on the road to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, are duly sanctioned by the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) and will impact the WBSC World Rankings.