Daisuke Matsuzaka threw 65 pitches over four innings to get the win as defending champion Japan routed South Korea 14-2 in seven innings to advance to the second round of the World Baseball Classic.
Matsuzaka, the MVP of the 2006 WBC, picked up the victory after holding Korea to two runs on four hits, striking out a batter, and walking two in his outing.
Japan, led by Ichiro Suzuki’s 3-for-5 with three runs scored, jumped on top 3-0 in the first inning, but South Korea answered back in the bottom half of the first as Kim Tae Kyun slammed a two-run homer off Matsuzaka before Japan responded with five runs in the top of the second to pull away.
Japan improved to 2-0 in Pool A of the 16-nation tournament and secured a spot in the second round which starts March 15 in San Diego.
In other WBC action, David Ortiz is batting cleanup for the Dominican Republic today vs. Netherlands in a game that got underway at 11:00 a.m. (on ESPN 2) and the Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia take the field for the United States in Toronto against Canada at 2:00 p.m. (ESPN).
And stay tuned here for updates from Florida where the Red Sox will take on the Rays in a 1:05 p.m. start (WRKO AM-680).