What's Buzzing:

Big League Stew

Japan rallies past underdogs from Brazil, Netherlands cruises in WBC opening round

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

View photo

.

(AP)

Japan 5, Brazil 3: The ultimate underdogs from Brazil nearly stunned the world again on Saturday morning. Already a surprise qualifier in the tournament after knocking off Panama in November, Brazil took a 3-2 lead over two-time defending champions Japan into the eighth inning before the overwhelming favorites righted the ship with a three-run rally.

Of course Japan would do it all with small ball and excellent execution. After Seiichi Uchikawa led off the inning with a single, Yoshio Itoi would bunt him into scoring position. That set the stage for pinch-hitter Hirokazu Ibata to tie the game with an RBI single. After another single and a walk loaded the bases, manager Koji Yamamoto turned to another pinch-hitter in Shinnosuke Abe. He would drive home the go-ahead run on a fielder's choice. Nobuhiro Matsuda then added the insurance with a single to center.

Nothing fancy there at all. Just solid team baseball with contributions up and down the roster.

As for Brazil, this was certainly an admirable effort with the odds seemingly stacked against them. After the game manager Barry Larkin spoke to how proud he was of of the way his team competed, but he certainly wasn't surprised.

'These players love to compete,'' Larkin said. ''They love a challenge and this was a challenge similar to the qualifiers when we beat Panama. I'm extremely proud of the way my players performed in this game.''

It won't take us look to see how they'll bounce back from the tough loss. They'll be in action again tonight at 10:30 ET against 2006 tournament runner-up Cuba. Japan, on the other hand, gets a full 24 hours to relax. They'll face China at 5:00 a.m. ET Sunday morning as Pool A play continues.

Netherlands 5, Korea 0: The road wasn't any easier for Korea in Pool B play on Saturday morning. In fact, they were rolled by a fired up Netherlands squad.

Diegomar Markwell (4 IP), Orlando Yntema (3), Leon Boyd (1 2/3) and Mark Pawelek (1/3) combined on the four-hit shutout, striking out four hitters along the way. Atlanta Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons led the charge offensively, collecting three hits and scoring twice. Washington Nationals outfielder Roger Bernadina doubled and knocked home a pair in the win.

Netherlands will now face Chinese Taipei in Game 3 of Pool B at 1:30 a.m. ET Sunday morning. Both teams are 1-0 in the round robin format. Korea matches up next with Australia at 5:30 a.m. ET on Monday morning. The loser there becomes an extreme longshot to advance in the tournament.

Looking for more baseball chatter?
Follow @bigleaguestew, @Townie813, @AnswerDave and @MikeOz on Twitter
Also, check out the BLS Facebook Page

NBA video from Yahoo! Sports:

Other popular content on Yahoo! Sports:
Aging Roy Halladay a legend among peers
Exiled Mark Mangino returns to college football
Danica Patrick, crew chief make for odd couple
Blackhawks anthem singer shatters glass with Harry Caray tribute

View Comments (9)
  • India's Kaushik reprises Adams' frog-in-blender action

    By Amlan Chakraborty NEW DELHI (Reuters) - When Paul Adams burst onto the scene with his bizarre way of delivering the ball, many were convinced they would never see anything like it again. Two decades later, India's Shivil Kaushik has emerged as … More »

    Reuters - 6 minutes ago
  • Shivil Kaushik reprises Adams' frog-in-blender action

    By Amlan Chakraborty NEW DELHI (Reuters) - When Paul Adams burst onto the scene with his bizarre way of delivering the ball, many were convinced they would never see anything like it again. Two decades later, India's Shivil Kaushik has emerged as … More »

    Reuters - 13 minutes ago
  • Koeman urges Mane to focus on consistency after hat-trick

    Koeman urges Mane to focus on consistency after hat-trick

    Southampton manager Ronald Koeman has urged Sadio Mane to show greater consistency after the striker scored a hat-trick to guide his team to a 4-2 victory against Manchester City on Sunday. The Senegal-born striker has endured a mixed season for … More »

    Reuters - 23 minutes ago
  • Day three off lead as PGA Tour event spills into Monday

    Day three off lead as PGA Tour event spills into Monday

    (Reuters) - World number one Jason Day moved within three strokes of the lead during the third round at the weather-plagued Zurich Classic of New Orleans on Sunday before more torrential rain halted play for the day. Co-leaders Brian Stuard and … More »

    Reuters - 23 minutes ago
  • Pellegrini defends decision to rotate ahead of Madrid clash

    Pellegrini defends decision to rotate ahead of Madrid clash

    (Reuters) - Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini said he had no option but to name a much-changed team for Sunday's 4-2 Premier League defeat by Southampton with the club's Champions League semi-final clash with Real Madrid scheduled on … More »

    Reuters - 24 minutes ago