Tanaka beams about WBC performance

The Associated PressTAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Masahiro Tanaka is impressed with Japan’s performance in the WBC.

“They’ve won a couple of the tournaments but I think it’s the first time that they’ve won every single game coming up to this point,” the New York Yankees ace said Wednesday through an interpreter. “So, looking at that, I think they’re in good shape.”

Yoshitomo Tsutsugo sparked a five-run sixth inning with a solo home run to lead Japan over Israel 8-3 Wednesday and into the championship round. Japan (6-0) advanced along with the Netherlands, which beat Cuba 14-1 in Tokyo.

Tanaka pitched for Japan to help win the nation’s second straight title in 2009 and again in 2013, when it lost to Puerto Rico in the semifinals. He doesn’t regret his decision not to participate this year.

“The decision that I made was not to play for the Japan team for this WBC and concentrate on the work here,” he said.

The 28-year-old right-hander doesn’t rule out playing for Japan in the future.

“But you’ve got keep your level of baseball at a high level,” Tanaka said. “If I don’t do that, then they won’t want me on the team.”

U.S. rallies past Venezuela

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Hometown favorite Adam Jones hit a tying home run leading off the eighth inning and Eric Hosmer added a two-run shot three batters later as the United States rallied to beat Venezuela 4-2 on Wednesday night in the second round of the World Baseball Classic.

After being shut down for the first five innings by Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez, the Americans broke through against Venezuela’s bullpen.

Hosmer, the MVP of the 2016 All-Star Game at Petco Park, singled leading off the seventh and scored on Jonathan Lucroy’s sacrifice fly.

Hector Rondon (0-1) started the eighth for Venezuela and Jones, who played at Morse High about 8 miles east of Petco Park, homered to right-center to tie it at 2-2. Speech

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