LOS ANGELES Brandon Crawford scored the tiebreaking run when Nobuhiro Matsuda bobbled Adam Jones grounder to third in the eighth inning, and the United States reached the championship game of the World Baseball Classic for the first time by beating Japan 2-1 on Tuesday night at rainy Dodger Stadium.
Andrew McCutchen drove in an early run for the U.S., which will play Puerto Rico for the title Wednesday night. Puerto Rico beat the Netherlands 4-3 in 11 innings Monday.
The World Baseball Classic final has been played in the U.S. in each of its four editions, but the home team had never made it.
The Americans only reached the semifinals once, in 2009. But this All-Star-laden roster has won two straight elimination games to earn the chance for its first crown.