Ichiro Suzuki #51 of Japan hits a single to center to score Seiichi Uchikawa #24 and Akinori Iwamura #8 in the tenth inning of the finals of the 2009 World Baseball Classic on March 23, 2009 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Boston Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka will return to Ft. Myers a champion and as the World Baseball Classic MVP. And he has his Japanese teammate Ichiro Suzuki from the Seattle Mariners to thank.

Ichiro had 4 hits but none bigger than a 2-run single in the 10th inning that helped Japan to a 5-3 win over their archrival South Korea to win the WBC for the second straight time.

Japan held a 4-3 lead heading into the bottom of the 9th and had young Japanese phenom Yu Darvish on the mound. He got the first player he faced Keun-Woo Jeong to strikeout and then walkied Hyun-Soo Kim and Tae Kyun Kim to put runners on first and second with one out. Darvish then struck out Shin-Soo Choo and Bum Ho Lee singled to left, driving in the tying run.

Chang Yong Lim was on the mound for Korea in the 10th inning who gave up a lead-off single to Seiichi Uchikawa. Atsunori Inaba moved him up a base with a sacrifice bunt. Akinori Iwamura followed with a single to Uchikawa to third. Yasuyuki Kataoka was pinch-hit for by Munenori Kawasaki and Lim got him to popout to shortstop for the second out.

This set up Ichiro’s heroics and it was a battle.

On the 8th pitch of the at-bat, Ichiro lined a single up the middle to score Uchikawa and Iwamura, who had taken second on fielder’s indifference.

Darvish walked the leadoff batter in the bottom half of the inning but he then struck out 2 of the final 3 batters to secure Japan’s second straight WBC title.

For Matsuzaka, it’s his second straight WBC MVP. In this year’s WBC, he went 3-0 with a 2.45 ERA and is now 6-0 with a 1.98 ERA in 6 starts in both of the WBC’s.