Japan has won its second World Baseball Classic, defeating South Korea, 5-3, in the championship game, Monday night. Japan's Ichiro Suzuki secured the win with a two-run single in the 10th inning.
Japan took a 3-1 lead in the eighth inning, but South Korea tied the score 3-all in the bottom of the ninth on Bum Ho Lee's two-out single. Japan's closing pitcher Yu Darvish had gotten in trouble by walking two Korean batters. But Japan clinched the win in the top of the tenth, as Seattle Mariners star Ichiro Suzuki hit a two-run single.
The energetic crowd of nearly 55,000 cheered the Asian rivals at Dodger Stadium, banging noise-makers and waving national flags. Japan and South Korea have had a prickly history, but share a love of baseball. Their teams advanced to the final after Japan eliminated the United States, 9-4, Sunday and South Korea beat Venezuela, 10-2, Saturday.
Japan won the inaugural WBC tournament in 2006, eliminating Cuba, in the finals. The next World Baseball Classic will be held in 2013.
Although South Korea lost the classic to its rival, it is the reigning Olympic champion in baseball. South Korea beat Japan twice at the Beijing Olympics, before winning the gold medal.