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Usually one of the main players for his club, Seiichi Uchikawa has been given just one at-bat per game for his country during the World Baseball Classic, as a lethal weapon coming off the bench as a pinch hitter.

In Japan’s nail-biting 8-5 victory over Cuba on Tuesday night at Tokyo Dome, the 34-year-old lived up to expectations by masterfully making contact with a breaking ball thrown by right-hander Miguel Lahera into right-field foul territory for a sacrifice fly to drive in the game-winning run in the bottom of the eighth.

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