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For six games, Samurai Japan came up with the big hit or made the important play. But in the crucial stanza of their seventh game at this World Baseball Classic, on a rainy Tuesday night in Southern California, the game-changing moment slipped out of the their grasp.

Brandon Crawford scored the tiebreaking run when Nobuhiro Matsuda couldn’t cleanly field Adam Jones’ grounder to third in the top of the eighth, and the United States held on for a 2-1 win over Japan at Dodger Stadium to advance to its first World Baseball Classic final.

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