By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com
• Box score
Schneider tossed the ball to Chipper Jones, who stepped on third base. Davidson asked for help from second base umpire Brian Knight, who reversed the call, ending the inning and negating what was then the go ahead run.
A long discussion ensued between the umpires and the legendary Japanese manager Sadaharu Oh as television instant replays seemed to show in slow motion that Nishioka might not have left the base early.
The U.S. scored the game-winner against Japanese right-handed reliever Kyuji Fujikawa and never really hit the ball out of the infield. Vernon Wells opened the ninth with a single into the hole between short and third. Then, Randy Winn was safe at first on his sacrifice bunt when second baseman Nishioka took his foot off bag while covering first base. Wells was forced at third on Michael Young's bunt attempt, and Winn moved to second.
Derek Jeter was hit in the back to load the bases, and after Ken Griffey Jr. struck out swinging on a full count pitch, Rodriguez grounded the ball up the middle. Nishioka tried to knock it down, the ball skidded away from him into short center field, allowing Winn to come home with the winning run.
Japan jumped out to a 3-0 lead, but Chipper Jones and Derek Lee came to the rescue. Jones opened the second inning with his second homer or the tournament, a high drive into the right-field seats off Japanese starter Koji Uehara.
Lee hit his third homer of the tournament with one out in the sixth inning after a walk to Jones. It came off reliever Naoyuki Shimizu, who replaced Uehara at the top of the inning.
Ichiro opened the game with a line drive homer into the right-field bleachers off U.S. starter Jake Peavy, making a statement from the first at-bat that the Japanese were a force to be reckoned with.
An inning later, Japan increased the lead to 3-0 on Munenori Kawasaki's two-run single.
After that Peavy settled down on only allowed one other base runner in the remaining three innings he pitched. The Padres right-hander threw 67 of the 80 pitches he was allotted, allowing five hits, the three runs, while striking out three and walking one.
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com.