TOKYO (TR) – The thunder in the bat of Yurendell DeCaster ensured Europe had enough runs this time.
After watching a lead disappear the day before, the recently established European team rode a three-run home run by the Dutch designated hitter en route to topping perennial powerhouse Japan 6-2 on Wednesday night at Tokyo Dome.
“I was focused since yesterday (with) trying to hit the ball hard up the middle,” DeCaster said after the game, which gave Europe a split of the two-game series. “So today I had the same plan. I didn’t try to hit a home run; I just tried to put a good swing on it.”
Similar to Tuesday night, Japan fell behind early, with Europe’s bats springing to life against Orix Buffaloes left-hander Takahiro Matsuba in the bottom of the second. Doubles by Italy’s Mario Chiarini and Spaniard Blake Ochoa plated two runs.
In the bottom of the next inning, DeCaster sent an offering from Matsuba deep over the fence in left field for a three-run shot and a 5-0 lead.
Dutch starter Diegomar Markwell and three relievers combined to largely hold the Samurai Japan offense in check while striking out seven.
On Tuesday night, Japan, a two-time champion of the World Baseball Classic, rallied for three runs in the eighth in beating Europe 4-3.
Japan started toward a similar comeback in the sixth on Wednesday with a solo home run by Yakult Swallows infielder Tetsuto Yamada and a run-scoring single. But this time the European team, comprised of players from six countries, including the Netherlands, Italy and Germany, held on for the upset, much to the chagrin of most of the announced crowd of 23,132.
Europe pushed across an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth, and Tom Stuifbergen shut the door in the ninth, ending the game with a strike out of Yamada. After the third strike, the Dutch right-hander triumphantly slapped his glove.
Markwell was credited with the win while Matsuba was saddled with the loss.
Both teams will participate in the WBSC Premier 12 tournament scheduled to be held in Japan and Taiwan in November.