Masataka Yoshida went 3-for-3 with five RBIs, and Kensuke Kondo drove in three runs as Japan overcame an early three-run deficit to beat South Korea 13-4 in World Baseball Classic Pool B on Friday.
Japan picked up its second consecutive win in the five-team, round-robin stage at Tokyo Dome, while South Korea fell to 0-2. Two-way star Shohei Ohtani went 2-for-3 with an RBI.
Lars Nootbaar ignited Japan's offense again from the leadoff spot. The St. Louis Cardinal had an RBI single among his two hits and made a diving catch in center field for the second night in a row.
"Feels great. (I'm) proud to be a Japan member and always good to get a win," Nootbaar said. "Obviously, you know, (I'm) happy that we got that hit, but most importantly, we won the game, one through nine, good pitching all throughout. Good win."
Yang Eui Ji put South Korea on the board first with a two-run homer, and Lee Jung Hoo added an RBI single for a 3-0 lead in the top of the third inning against Yu Darvish.
But Japan answered back in the bottom half as new Boston Red Sox acquisition Yoshida singled in two runs to cap a four-run rally.
"I reacted well to that (breaking ball)," Yoshida said of his two-run single. "I'm glad I was able to contribute to the win."
Kondo, one of Japan's best contact hitters, homered leading off the fifth. Ohtani followed with a double down the right-field line, moved to third on a groundout, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Yoshida, making it 6-3.
Japan, the only two-time WBC champion, put the game away with a five-run sixth that included an RBI single by Ohtani.
Both starting pitchers with major league experience had disappointing outings.
Darvish of the San Diego Padres allowed three runs, two earned, in three innings, while Kim Kwang Hyun, who won a total of 10 games for the Cardinals in 2020-21, gave up four runs in two-plus innings.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida threw out the ceremonial first pitch of the game.
"Japan played well," South Korea manager Lee Kang Chul said. "It was a tough game for us. I feel responsible for being unable to make pitching changes at the right times. We had many young players, and the team couldn't give 100 percent."
In Friday's other Pool B game, Martin Muzik hit a three-run homer in the top of the ninth inning as the Czech Republic beat China 8-5.
On Saturday, Australia will face China before Japan takes on the Czechs.