FUKUOKA, Japan (AP) — Two-time defending champion Japan had to rally to beat Brazil 5-3 on Saturday in its opening game of the World Baseball Classic.
Japan trailed 3-2 before adding three runs in the top of the eighth inning in front of a crowd of 28,181 at the Fukuoka Dome.
Hirokazu Ibata came off the bench to tie the game with a single to right that scored Seiichi Uchikawa from second. Japan took a 4-3 lead when Ibata scored from third on a fielder's choice and added an insurance run on Nobuhiro Matsuda's single to center that scored Hisayoshi Chono.
Brazil looked set to pull off a major upset when it took a 3-2 lead in the fifth inning on a double by Leonardo Reginatto that scored Paulo Orlando from second.