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03/24/09 4:13 AM ET

Dice-K repeats as Classic MVP

Japan righty wins three games in 2009 tournament to seal award

LOS ANGELES -- Dice-K rolled another double winner at the World Baseball Classic.

Daisuke Matsuzaka was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player for the second time on Monday after Japan beat Korea, 5-3 in 10 innings, in the final for its second title in as many editions of the Classic.

Dice-K posted a 3-0 record with a 2.45 ERA in the tournament, winning all three of his starts, including his victory over the United States in the semifinal on Sunday. He tossed 4 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on five hits for the victory that put Japan in the final.

"I'm really thankful about the MVP," Matsuzaka said afterward. "I didn't think that it was going to be me at all. I felt that I was lucky, and I felt that  it couldn't be compared to Mr. [Hisashi] Iwakuma, who pitched today. So I felt that Iwakuma would get the MVP myself."

Iwakuma pitched 7 2/3 strong innings in the title game, and wound up going 1-1 with a 1.35 ERA in three starts and one relief appearance, covering 20 innings. In all, Dice-K pitched 14 2/3 innings and allowed four runs on 14 hits along with five walks and 13 strikeouts.

Matsuzaka also won the MVP in the inaugural Classic in 2006, when he went 3-0 with a 1.38 ERA over 13 innings, including a win over Cuba in the final at San Diego's PETCO Park. Overall in both tournaments, Matsuzaka is 6-0 with a 1.95 ERA in 27 2/3 innings along with 23 strikeouts and eight walks.

Matsuzaka used the 2006 tournament as a showcase of his talent as he soon signed with the Red Sox after the Classic. He's been successful in the Major Leagues, posting a 33-15 record and a 3.72 ERA in his two seasons with the club along with a World Series title in 2007.

"The difference between last time and this time is, I was able to participate as a champion, and I was again able to win the championship again," Matsuzaka said.

Rhett Bollinger is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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