Japan beats USA in WBC final; Shohei Ohtani strikes out Angels teammate Mike Trout to end game

MIAMI, FLORIDA - MARCH 21: Team Japan celebrates after the final out of the World Baseball Classic Championship defeating Team USA 3-2 at loanDepot park on March 21, 2023 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images)

Team Japan captured its third World Baseball Classic title after beating USA in the final 3-2 Tuesday.

Samurai Japan's victory was not without drama as Los Angeles Angels teammates Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout faced each other in the biggest possible stage in baseball: in the last out of the ninth inning of a winner-take-all showdown. Ohtani got the better of his teammate after striking out Trout to end the game.

Ohtani finished the championship game going 1 for 3 with a walk at the plate and threw a scoreless inning from the mound. The 2021 AL MVP finished the tournament with a .435 batting average and a 1.86 ERA from the mound. 

Trout went 1 for 5 in the title game, finishing the tournament with a .296 batting average.

Team USA drew first blood after a solo homer from former Los Angeles Dodger Trea Turner in the top of the second inning off Japanese pitcher Shota Imanaga. Samurai Japan responded in the following frame with a solo homer from Munetaka Murakami and then an RBI fielder's choice from St. Louis Cardinals' Laars Nootbaar to take a 2-1 lead over Team USA.

Japan then extended the lead to 3-1 after a solo home run from Kazuma Okamoto in the bottom of the fourth. 

Team USA cut Japan's lead to 3-2 after Kyle Schwarber blasted a moonshot to the stadium's upper deck off former Dodger Yu Darvish.


Team Japan advanced past pool play after going undefeated in Pool B with wins over Australia, China, Czech Republic and South Korea. Samurai Japan punched their ticket to the final after beating Italy 9-3 in the quarterfinals and Mexico 6-5 in the semis.

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Team USA advanced past pool play after finishing second in Pool C, with the lone loss coming against Mexico. Team USA punched its ticket to the final after beating Venezuela 9-7 in the quarterfinals and Cuba 14-2 in the semis. 


  • Current Los Angeles Dodgers in the final: Mookie Betts, USA; Will Smith, USA; Dino Ebel (third base coach), USA
  • Current Los Angeles Angels in the final: Shohei Ohtani, Japan; Mike Trout, USA
  • Former Dodger in the final: Yu Darvish (2017), Japan; Trea Turner (2021-2022), USA
  • Former Angel in the final: Dino Ebel (with LAA's coaching staff 2006-2018), USA