Netherlands 12 Israel 2
TOKYO — Didi Gregorius drove in five runs Monday to lead the Netherlands over Israel 12-2 and hand the tournament debutants their first loss of the World Baseball Classic.
Gregorius doubled in a run in the third when the Netherlands scored four to take a 6-0 lead. The designated hitter then hit a three-run homer in the fourth to make it 10-0.
Gregorius also drove in a run in the eighth on a sacrifice fly when the Netherlands added two more runs. The game was called after eight innings under the 10-run mercy rule.
Israel beat the Netherlands 4-2 in the first round in Seoul but saw a different team on Monday at Tokyo Dome. Jair Jurrjens picked up the win after striking out five and holding Israel to one run on five hits over six innings.
“We lost to Israel in the first round so we wanted to make sure we made no mistakes in today’s game with pitching, offence and defence,” Netherlands manager Hensley Meulens said. “J.J. did a great job holding them and we were able to score some big runs early.”
Wladimir Balentien, who plays in Japan, also had a big night at the plate, driving in three runs.
“We are a great hitting team and we believe in ourselves and that’s what you saw tonight — 15 hits,” Balentien said.
Israel surprised many by winning its first four games of the tournament but was overpowered by the Netherlands, which lost 8-6 in 11 innings to Japan on Sunday.
Israel starter Corey Baker took the loss after giving up four runs on three hits over two innings.
“We just didn’t pitch well tonight,” Israel manager Jerry Weinstein said. “We got behind in the count and made non-competitive pitches and big league hitters will make you pay for that.”
The Netherlands and Israel are both 1-1 in Pool E. The top two teams advance to the March 20-22 championship round in Los Angeles.