Japan Defeats Canada in Opening Day

July 13, 2006, 2:17 p.m. (ET)
Japan Defeats Canada 2-1 in Opening Day 
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Japan, defending World Cup champions, came out strong in their opening game in Oklahoma City to defeat Canada, 2-1 on the first day of competition. Despite being held to only four hits, Japan was able to collect the win with the help of a wild pitch that allowed the winning run to score in the fifth inning.
Japan ace Yukiko Ueno started in the circle and was perfect in the three innings she worked before being relieved by Mariko Masubuchi. Canada put up its first hit of the game in the fourth when Sheena Lawrick singled to left field but was left stranded. Japan posted its first run of the game in the fourth when Eri Yamada scored off a single by Satoko Mabuchi.
In the fifth inning, Japan chased Canada starter Danielle Lawrie from the circle with two runners in scoring position but the move did not pay off as reliever Robin Mackin delivered a wild pitch that allowed the winning run to score. Looking for some late inning magic, Canada came out in the sixth and cut the lead in half after Melanie Matthews led off with a double to right center and scored on a single by Alison Bradley. But the rally would fall short as the next two batters lined out to end the inning.
Danielle Lawrie took the loss for Canada allowing four hits and two earned runs in 4.1 innings pitched, while Mariko Masubuchi earned the win in relief and Juri Takayama picked up a save for Japan.
Canada (0-1) will take on the United States (1-0) tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. (CT) while Japan (1-0) takes on China (0-1) at 8:00 p.m. (CT).