Baseball-Japan's Ohtani strikes out Trout to seal World Baseball Classic win
Shohei Ohtani struck out Mike Trout in a showdown between two of the game's best players to seal Japan's 3-2 victory over the United States in a riveting World Baseball Classic (WBC) final at Miami's LoanDepot Park on Tuesday.
Baseball is the United States' national pastime but Japan's win over the defending WBC champions means they have won three of five editions of the global showcase.
The contest ended in a showdown that is likely to go down in baseball folklore as Ohtani, the hitting and pitching sensation from Japan, faced off against his Los Angeles Angels teammate and US captain Trout.
"Whether I got him out or he got a hit off of me, I didn't want to have any regrets," said Ohtani. "I wanted to make my best pitch.
"This is a different experience, representing your country and facing guys representing their country. It was a different intensity and it was great."
Carrying their nation's flags, the two men had led their respective teams onto the field and then in a moment of pure sporting magic stood across from each other with everything on the line.
With Japan clinging to a 3-2 ninth-inning lead they turned to their ace Ohtani.
He walked the first batter he faced in Jeff McNeil but then got Mookie Betts to hit into a double play, bringing up Trout with two out and the sellout crowd on its feet.
Throwing 100 mph fastballs Ohtani struck out his Angels teammate to trigger celebrations as the Japan team poured out of the dugout.