MIAMI — Shohei Ohtani emerged from the bullpen and fanned Los Angeles Angels teammate Mike Trout for the final in a matchup the entire baseball world wanted to see, leading Japan over defending champion United States 3-2 Tuesday night for its first World Baseball Classic title since 2009.
Ohtani, the two-way star who captivated fans on two continents, singled in the field in the seventh inning as the designated hitter, and walked down the left field line to the Japan bullpen to warm up for his third appearance of the tournament mound. He walked Big League batting champion Jeff McNeil before grounding Mookie Betts in a double play.
Trout, the USA captain and three-time MVP, then finished the game by hitting a full-count breakout ball.
Ohtani batted .435 with a homer, four doubles, eight RBIs and 10 walks as Japan joined the Dominican Republic in 2013 to become the sole undefeated champion of baseball’s major national team tournament. Ohtani was 2-0 with one save and a 1.86 ERA on the mound, striking out 11 in 9 ⅔ innings.