Japan earned a thrilling 3-2 victory over defending champions USA to win the World Baseball Classic for a third time.
Japanese star Shohei Ohtani clinched the win in Miami by striking out US captain Mike Trout, his Los Angeles Angels team-mate, in the ninth inning.
Japan won the first two editions of the tournament in 2006 and 2009.
“This is the best moment in my life,” said Ohtani, 28, who was named the tournament’s most valuable player.
“I’ve seen Japan winning and just wanted to be part of it. I really appreciate that I was able to have this great experience.”
He also made the team of the tournament as both the designated hitter and a pitcher.
The fifth edition of the WBC came down to a match-up between two of Major League Baseball’s best players in the tournament’s final at-bat.
In 2021, Ohtani became the first player in MLB history to be selected for the All-Star Game as both a pitcher and a hitter.
Ohtani prevailed in front of a sell-out crowd of 36,098 to spark wild celebrations both among his team-mates and back home in Tokyo.
“I think as a baseball fan, everybody wanted to see it. He won round one,” said Trout with a smile.
“The baseball world won tonight,” added US manager Mark DeRosa. “I was hoping it would go our way with Mikey popping one against Ohtani.
“The whole world got to see Ohtani come in – in a big spot, battling. That’s kind of how it was scripted. I just wish it would have gone differently.”