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Munetaka Murakami’s deep double bounced off the wall to score Shohei Ohtani from second and pinch-runner Ukyo Shuto to win the World Baseball Classic semifinal against Mexico to send Japan to its third ever final.

Japan never led until the last hit of the game – having been down 3-0 and then 5-3 to Mexico over the course of the contest.

Mexico closer Giovanni Gallegos gave up a double to Ohtani and then walked Masataka Yoshida to set up the game winning hit for Murkami. Shuto came in to pinch run for Yoshida.

Japan, which won the first two WBCs in 2006 and 2009 and reached the semifinals in the past two editions, will meet the United States for the championship on Tuesday in Miami.

Mexico was up 5-4 entering the bottom of the ninth, and the Los Angeles Angels’ Ohtani hit the first pitch from the St. Louis Cardinals’ Gallegos for a double. 

Munetaka Murakami's walk-off two-run double sent Japan to the championship vs. the USA

Munetaka Murakami’s walk-off two-run double sent Japan to the championship vs. the USA

Shohei Ohtani's double in the ninth sparked a comeback for Japan to win against Mexico

Shohei Ohtani’s double in the ninth sparked a comeback for Japan to win against Mexico

Japan players came spilling out onto the field - off to their third WBC championship game

Japan players came spilling out onto the field – off to their third WBC championship game

Murakami, the MVP of Japan’s Central League each of the past two years, then drilled a 1-1 pitch off the wall in right-center field. Ohtani scored, with the speedy Shuto coming home easily, too, to spark a wild celebration.

Ohtani said postgame through an interpreter, ‘I wish we could have scored more runs earlier to make it comfortable for the pitchers, but the pitchers came through and (I’m) glad we got this win.’

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Taisei Ota earned the win after throwing a scoreless top of the ninth.

Mexico jumped on top thanks to a three-run homer from the Milwaukee Brewers’ Luis Urias in the fourth inning. Japan tied the score on a three-run shot from Yoshida in the seventh.

In the eighth, an RBI double from the Boston Red Sox’s Alex Verdugo and a run-scoring single from the Tampa Bay Rays’ Isaac Paredes put Mexico up 5-3. Japan halved the deficit on a sacrifice fly from Hotaka Yamakawa in the bottom of the eighth.

Mexico starter Patrick Sandoval of the Angels threw 4 1/3 scoreless innings, striking out six.

After being down 3-0, Boston Red Sox signing Masataka Yoshida hit a three-run home run

After being down 3-0, Boston Red Sox signing Masataka Yoshida hit a three-run home run

The shot scored Ohtani and Kensuke Kondo to tie the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the seventh

The shot scored Ohtani and Kensuke Kondo to tie the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the seventh

But Mexico took a 5-3 lead off RBI hits from Alex Verdugo (above) & Isaac Paredes in the eighth

But Mexico took a 5-3 lead off RBI hits from Alex Verdugo (above) & Isaac Paredes in the eighth

Mexico's pitchers kept Japan at bay in the eighth inning, but couldn't hang on in the ninth.

Mexico’s pitchers kept Japan at bay in the eighth inning, but couldn’t hang on in the ninth.

It was Munetaka Murakami that scored Ohtani and Shuto to win the game for Japan

It was Munetaka Murakami that scored Ohtani and Shuto to win the game for Japan

Japan will now face the United States in the championship game at loanDepot Park in Miami

Japan will now face the United States in the championship game at loanDepot Park in Miami

‘Crazy game, man. Crazy emotions. It’s good to be on top though,’ Japan’s Lars Nootbaar told Fox after the game ended.

When asked about the emotions in the dugout after Yoshida’s three-run home run to tie the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the seventh, Nootbaar said the team was just trying to keep a level head and stay focused.

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‘Yoshida’s came up so big for us this whole tournament and we were getting guys on all game long, we just weren’t cashing it in.

‘So, I think just as a group we kinda had confidence that we were gonna scratch someone across, it’s just a matter of when… That’s kinda the group mentality, just never give up. We’re playing for our country in the WBC, it’s unbelievable.’

After the hit and Japan’s celebration, Ohtani spoke to Fox’s Ken Rosenthal describing what the team was feeling and what went through his head in the bottom of the ninth.

‘Murakami was… he had a little slump going on, but he… came in crunch time he was gonna come through,’ Ohtani said through a translator. ‘I was leading off the inning, he threw it through the strike zone, I just wanted to get a good swing on it. Got a decent first pitch it was right over the zone, right over the plate, got a good swing on it.’

Ohtani and Japan now get set to face his Los Angeles Angels teammate Mike Trout and Team USA in the WBC Championship game. The two-way playing Ohtani told Rosenthal that he would be available to pitch, but that he wants to take a few cracks at the plate first.

‘I will definitely be prepared to pitch wherever, but before that I am going to have to hit and make sure I put some runs on the board before I pitch,’ he said in Japanese.

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