MIAMI – Shohei Otani came out of the bullpen and backed up his Los Angeles Angels teammate Mike Trout in the final of a game that wanted to see the entire baseball world beat Japan 3-2 over the defending United States champion on Tuesday night at his first World Baseball Classic . title since 2009.
Otani, a two-sided star who captivated fans on two continents, was named WBC MVP and clutched the award to her chest.
Otani beat a single infield in the seventh inning as the designated hitter before going down the left field line to Japan’s bullpen to warm up for his third outing of the tournament.
Showing his 100 mph run, Otani passed major league champion Jeff McNeil to start in ninth place before making Mookie Betts land a double play.
Trout, the US captain and three-time MVP, then ended the game by hitting the ball with a full score. Otani’s only other save was in the 2016 Japan Playoffs.